Perched on a rock near the shore, Luke cooks blue swimmer crab with a simple sauce of tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar.


Skill level

Average: 3.8 (55 votes)


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 red Asian shallots, finely sliced
  • ½ onion, cut into thick wedges
  • 1 tbsp black or kampot peppercorns
  • 2 medium-sized blue swimmer crabs, cleaned, quartered
  • 1 handful Khmer basil or Thai basil
  • 1 long red chilli, finely sliced

Tamarind sauce

  • 125 ml tamarind water
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp liquid palm sugar or shaved palm sugar (jaggery)

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.


Combine the tamarind sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl with a pinch of sea salt. Mix well, and then set aside.

Add the vegetable oil, garlic, shallots and onion to a hot wok. Stir-fry over a high heat for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

Add the peppercorns and crab and toss for 7 minutes. Add the tamarind sauce and cook for a further minute, or until the crab pieces are cooked through.

Add the basil and chilli, toss once and serve. Garnish with more basil and chilli, if desired.