From a family kitchen in San Salvador comes this seafood recipe. Shared to us by Ines Quintanillou in Perth, this dish is packed with flavour and uses pepitas (dried pumpkin seeds)to add a fantastic texture to the dish.






Skill level

Average: 3 (2 votes)


  • 8 x 200 g blue swimmer crabs (see Note) 
  • 40 g butter 
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1 large green capsicum, seeded, chopped 
  • 1-2 long red chillies, thinly sliced, plus extra, to serve 
  • 200 g (1 cup) pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), dry-roasted 
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 2 sprigs coriander, leaves picked, to serve, roots reserved, washed 
  • crusty bread, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To prepare crabs, break off tail flaps on the underside and discard. Cut each crab in half lengthwise, then carefully pull off back shells and reserve. Discard the 'dead man’s fingers' (soft gills), then rinse and discard stomach sac.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium–high heat. Add crabs and reserved shells, and cook, turning occasionally, for 6 minutes or until shells start to turn orange.

Meanwhile, blend tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, pepitas, garlic and coriander roots in a blender, then add 250 ml (1 cup) water and blend to a purée.

Add pepita mixture to crabs, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 12 minutes or until the crabs are cooked. Transfer crabs to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Increase heat to medium–high and cook pepita sauce for 4 minutes or until reduced by half. Discard shells and season sauce with salt and pepper.

Place crabs on a plate, spoon over pepita sauce, scatter with coriander and extra chillies, and serve with bread.


• If using 300–400 g crabs, crack the large claws to ensure that they cook through.



Photography by Anson Smart.


As seen in Feast magazine, October 2011, Issue 2. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.