Prawn and crab fat ginataan

Prawn and crab fat ginataan

Ginataang sugpo at aligue

7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

I don’t know where or when it was, but I do remember the first time I saw it on a menu: ginataang sugpo at aligue — prawn and crab fat in coconut milk. I would have ordered the dish for the first and last item alone, but crab fat? I was naturally intrigued. It turned out to be rich, intense and wickedly good. You can get your hands on some of the good stuff, bottled crab fat that is, from Asian grocery stores, where it is surprisingly inexpensive.


Quantity Ingredient
60ml vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4cm piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons preserved crab fat
250ml coconut milk
2 red bird’s-eye chillies, seeded and finely chopped
500g raw king prawns, peeled and deveined, tails left intact
2 kalamansi, juiced, plus extra wedges, to serve
or 1 lemon, plus extra wedges, to serve
steamed rice and sliced long green chillies, to serve


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring until fragrant. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often, until soft.
  2. Add the crab fat and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the coconut milk and red chillies. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low–medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced and thickened.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over medium–high heat. Cook the prawns, in batches, for 1 minute on each side, or until they turn pink.
  4. Add the prawns to the coconut milk mixture, squeeze over the kalamansi and toss to combine. Remove from the heat, scatter with green chillies and serve with steamed rice and extra kalamansi wedges.

What is it?

  • Despite its name, taba ng talangka, literally ‘crab fat’, is actually crab roe or coral. It takes its name from the roe-filled small talangka crab from which it is harvested and its high fat content. Many bottled versions are not pure crab fat; the paste can also contain crabmeat, vinegar and oil, likely as a preservative. It is also known as aligue.
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