Cracked Crab with Lemongrass, Black Pepper, and Basil


  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, ends trimmed and coarse leaves discarded

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 fully cooked Dungeness crabs (about 2 lbs. each), cleaned, legs cracked, and bodies quartered

  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil

  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro sprigs

  • 1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves or small regular basil leaves


  1. Chop lemongrass. Put in a food processor with ginger and garlic; whirl until minced. Scrape into a large bowl and stir in honey, soy sauce, and pepper. Add crabs and stir to coat well. Cover, then chill at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.

  2. Pour oil into a 14-in. wok or a wide 8- to 10-qt. pot over medium-high heat. With a slotted spoon, add crabs (reserve marinade). Cover and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes (omit this cooking time if using fully cooked crabs).

  3. Uncover pan, add marinade, and cook, stirring often, until crabs are steaming and meat is opaque, about 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in cilantro and basil, then transfer crabs and juices to a serving bowl.



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