Rellenong Alimasag / Stuffed Blue Crab Shells


In some western markets, very good lump crab meat is sold by the pound for relatively exhorbitant prices. But when you have to steam and extract crab meat yourself, you rell2realize the cost of pre-peeled crab meat is probably well justified… The first step to a delicious rellenong alimasag is obviously a lot of freshly steamed and cleanly picked crab meat. I plan on about two and a half whole crabs to make one well-stuffed shell. If you are preparing your own crab meat, steam the alimasag for 12 or so minutes until cooked and cool them in the shell for an hour or so before picking the flesh. Set aside the nicest crab shells for eventual stuffing. I like the larger alimasag shells so that the individual servings are substantial rather than the airy thin servings you tend to get in restaurants… Some folks suggest leaving the claws and legs on and only picking the “white” meat from the main body…the reason being this would make a better looking crustacean when cooked and plated…I find that too much of a bother.

To make, sauté some chopped onions in some vegetable oil. Add some chopped garlic and chopped tomatoes. Add the crab meat. Add any herbs that seem to make sense, I added wansoy, chopped rell3jalapeno peppers,green onions and lots of salt and freshly ground black pepper. I did not add ground meat as some like to do. I did not add fillers like breadcrumbs, bread cubes, etc. Stir until just cooked and cool slightly. Stuff the crab shells well until they form a tight mound on the shell. Brush with some lightly beaten egg to form a binder on the surface of the crab meat. Heat up a pan with an inch or two deep of vegetable oil and put on medium high heat. Once hot, carefully put the rellenong crab into the oil with shell side up and fry until a nice golden brown color is reached. Turn over briefly if the shell was not submerged completely in hot fat. Some folks recommend breadcrumbs on top of the egg wash but I find that the breadcrumbs sometimes burn and turn black before the crab is properly heated through.

I didn’t do it on this batch of rellenong alimasag but I can see the addition of bacon and or pancetta as a possible variation. Also, parsley, basil, dill would also be interesting. rell4The key is to key a lot of crab packed into the serving so you know exactly what the main ingredient is. The additional items are just to enhance the flavor of crab…don’t overdo the onions, garlic or tomatoes. I served the rellenong crab with a salad of avocados, tomatoes, green beans and artichokes with a vinaigrette dressing. I was trying to convince myself that this qualified for a protein/vegetable South Forbes Diet dish but who was I joking. Throw on some mayonnaise mixed with ketchup and lemon and I was on the road to Crestor cholesterol pill heaven. Served with a wedge of lemon, the entire dish was really good. I don’t have this often as I find the whole process of extracting crab meat tedious. I gave up on the western plating and added some steamed rice and tomato ketchup to finish off the SECOND crab shell that I ate that lunch!


10 Responses

  1. I definitely like your version, MM! This is how stuffed crab should be made, just crab meat, no extra meat, no fillers whatsoever. Not the starchy kind most restaurants serve.
    You added some jalapeno peppers in it too! Awesome!
    I’ll definitely try this and I think I’ll go and get me the deep fryer I have been eyeing for a while now, it would be perfect for this recipe.

  2. lookin’ good! as usual, you’ve managed to make my mouth water (and my stomach growl) just seeing those lovely pictures. another addition to my ‘must eat when i get back to the islands for my next holiday’ list. ;)

  3. My mom gave me this tip for steamed crabs. If you want the flesh to come off the shell easily, dunk your newly steamed crabs in cold water. And it works, we really get the leg and claw flesh whole. Maybe that would help make “deboning” easier. Great recipe!

  4. here’s what i do to get the crab meat off the body:
    after removing the top shell, remove all the legs especially the joints that connect to the main body – thats the trick. then break the crab in half – remove the thin middle cartilage/bone and open the rest – all the meat should fall off easily
    we were once guests in bataan and they served us an amazing array of crustaceans, shrimp, alimasag, lobster, kuracha(?) – a different kind of crab with a big head and small limbs, and alimango sa bato(?) – these guys were violet with polka dots when uncooked

  5. Mr. MM

    My mother used to cook the same way as your rellenong alimasag…though sometimes have to add fillers because the crabt meat was not substantial as you can get only how much meat from one crab…but its yummy and rare in our dining table…hehehe..

  6. I’m from Cebu and this was one of the dishes mom cooked for us. Thanks so much for sharing. I will try to cook this.

  7. my husband was just craving for a rellenong bangus the other day, i think i am serving him a better one with your rellenong alimasag! never done this before neither the bangus…thanks for the recipe and to ria, thanks for the tip!

  8. this really looks awesome… i’ll try to duplicate this at home this week-end.




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