Crab With Tamarind And Chili (Cua Rang Me)


Cua Rang Me or Crab with tamarind and chili is a Vietnamese seaside dish. This straightforward recipe shows you how to prepare live crab step-by-step with pictures.

My publisher Tuttle Publishing recently sent me a copy of Nhut Huynh’s Little Vietnam cookbook. I like the cookbook because it’s something I’d genuinely use.

Reading a cookbook is one thing; glancing through it and looking at the recipes is another. But some cookbooks have dishes in them that I can see myself making.

The latter is what I’m referring to.

This crab with tamarind and chili was the first thing that drew my attention. As a significant crab enthusiast (click here to see all my crab recipes), I decided to give this dish a try because it looked incredibly tempting and tasty.

This recipe for Dungeness crab chowder looks delicious, and I can’t wait to try it when the season opens in November.

Using live crab is crucial in this recipe, and I couldn’t agree more.

Rasa Malaysia has published several crab recipes that call for live crab, but if you can’t get it, you’ll have to substitute with frozen crabs, which have a different flavor and texture.

Cooking crab at home can be scary for many home cooks, despite their love of seafood. Many Asian supermarkets will cut and clean the crab for you, so all you have to do is boil it. This is a fallacy.

The fishmonger in Malaysia will always clean the crab for you if you ask them to.

This recipe provides a clear, step-by-step photographic guide when it comes to cleaning and chopping up live crab.

To see the procedure, go to this page.

Crab with tamarind and chili is a coastal Vietnamese specialty.

You can consume the most delicate crab if you do it with your hands.

Gather up every last bit of delectable crab meat and slurp up the sauce with your teeth.

It’s time to eat!

What is the average number of calories in one serving?

  • Each serving of this recipe contains only 484 calories.

With this recipe, what are its complementary dishes?

I’ve compiled a collection of recipes that are both healthy and quick enough to prepare on a weeknight.



  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 small and halved onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 fresh small red chili, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • Oil, for frying
  • Steamed rice, to serve
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup (10-15 g) sawtooth herb, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice
  • ¼ cup (10-15 g) rice paddy herb, finely chopped
  • 4 lbs. fresh crabs, about 3 pcs, placed in a freezer for 30 minutes


  1. To clean the mud crab, run it under cold water as you scrub it with a brush. Lift the flap/tail of the crab by placing it on its back on a chopping board. When you’ve removed it from the crab’s body, flip it over and remove the “dead man’s fingers,” which are long, gray fingers. Leave the liver intact, but release any additional innards by carefully scraping off the green-brown material surrounding it (commonly known as the “mustard”).
  2. Remove the crab’s claws and legs, and then split the body into two pieces by slicing it in half lengthwise from the head.
  3. To ensure that the crab claws and legs cook evenly and are more palatable, carefully crack them with a cleaver or a sizeable heavy-bladed knife. Put them in a sink full of ice-cold water and run them through the machine.
  4. In a wok, heat the oil to a high temperature. Fry the crab pieces in batches for 2-3 minutes, then remove paper towels to drain.
  5. The conserved “mustard” should be combined with the egg, tamarind juice, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and sugar.
  6. Using a clean wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat, then add the chopped garlic and fry until fragrant. After about a minute of cooking the onion, add the chili peppers and cook for another minute or two.
  7. Bring the tamarind-egg mixture to a boil in the wok, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until it becomes sticky. It should take about 5 minutes to coat everything in the sauce and have it all heated through. Serve over hot, steaming rice, if desired.


  • A live mud, Dungeness, rock, or blue crab, for example, is an excellent choice of alternative for this recipe

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