After four years in the Great White North, I am brave enough to cook crabs. You may remember that I turned a Pacific dungeness crab into an Indonesian Chili Crab (Kepiting Saus Padang).  I used to have crabs in Indonesia, but never cooked them by myself. You can find live dungeness crabs at Superstore or any fish markets. Only once a while, I saw fresh blue crabs at one of Asian markets in Winnipeg.

After I left my home country, I felt how I was spoiled by warm weather to produce all year long tropical fresh fruits and vegetables for sure. Abundant street food availability had made me lazy to learn about cooking from my family. My maternal grandmother and mom was a great cook. I probably could call my mom, a chef. Ability to craft healthy and creative dishes for her own catering business was her passion.

It came a moment where I had to move out from my parents’ house. I had to live at a rent’s room close by the university where I went for school. The school that I went is in West Java province. It is about 734 kms from my hometown. Once a while, I tried to cook by myself just because I want to reduce the MSG came into my body, very simple stir fry veggies. Heck, I even didn’t know how to cook rice without a rice cooker.

Do you know who taught me how to cook rice without a rice cooker? My husband! Can you believe that? He knows how to cook rice on a stove and didn’t know how to cook it with a rice cooker. The opposite of me, eh!

Anyway, here I am cooking Indonesian food and try to be as authentic as I can from Manitoba’s kitchen after couple years learned from a lady who has worked for our family in Indonesia, online websites and Indonesian cookbooks. Furthermore, I never stop learning.

A tips on cooking whole and live crabs that I got from this website. Take advantage of their cold-bloodedness! Chilling the crabs in the fridge or freezer just before use will slow their metabolism down enough that you can handle them easily.

Please enjoy my second cooking of crabs, Gulai Manis Rajungan – West Sumatran Blue Crab Curry that I cooked on December 20, 2009.

Gulai Manis Rajungan
West Sumatran Blue Crab Curry
recipe by Tabloid Nova, modified by me

5 – 6 blue crabs, brushed
1200 ml coconut milk (I combined 1000 ml coconut milk, 1/4 cup coconut cream, and 200 ml clam juice)
4 red/cayenne chilies, cut lengthwise
2 asam kandis (can be substituted for kokkam or gorakha, find this ingredient at Indian/Carribean stores)
2 lemongrasses, take the white parts and bruise
oil for stir fry

Grind into spices (bumbu/rempah) a paste
7 shallots
3 cloves garlic
3 cm long turmeric, roasted and peeled (can be used for turmeric powder instead)
2 cm long ginger, peeled
2 cm long galangal
1 tsp whitepeppercorn
1 tsp coroander seed
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1. Steam the crabs until turn colour.

2. At medium – high, heat up the oil in a pot. Stir fry bumbu/rempah paste until fragrant. Add chilies and cook until wilted.

3. Reduce the heat. Add clam juice, coconut cream and coconut milk.

4. Stir occasionally in order to have a good mixture not bursted one unti it’s boiled.

5. Add crabs and asam kandis, cook until the liquid thicken. Remove and serve with rice.


  1. I haven't mastered enough courage to kill crabs yet. But after my braces are off, maybe I'll try ;p the gravy looks really milky and tasty

  2. Usually I will ask the "fishmonger' at the seafood station in the grocery store to kill the crab for me and I will cook it the same day!

    When I first moved to the US, I miss tropical papaya! Well, I could get it still, though rare, in the US and when I find them, their price is just too unreasonable for me to pay! Once in a while, I will still pay.

  3. How come I missed this post? Great cooking again Pep. I will not as brave as you to cook the crab. My hometown (South Sumatera) is also have many dishes from 'rajungan' but I don't even cook one hehehe :p


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