Coconut Crab Rice



I’m ready!

I’m ready for summer lunches with pink wine and dark sunglasses.  I’m ready to be almost annoyed by the big, bright sun in my face.  My love affair with Spring always makes me think of my absolute love-obsession with Summer.

This tropical rice dish totally has me ready to go sandal shopping and wear tie dye.

Perhaps I’m also considering a henna tattoo.   I dunno.  This rice has cast a spell.


Rice begins in this fashion… with onion and garlic, fresh green onions, a spicy red pepper, and a mixture of cumin and coriander.

The cumin and coriander get sauteed with the onions, garlic, and pepper.  The heat really brings out the flavors and helps the spices to incorporate beautifully throughout the whole dish.


If rice is the little black summer dress… then these ingredients can definitely be considered beachy sandals, bright scarves, and a classic handbag.



Coconut milk and lime add a big kick of happiness to this rice.  Big coconut flakes add a toothsome crunch… and cilantro should not be skipped.


With so few ingredients, they all become important.

Toss into steaming basmati rice.


Crab meat feels like such a luxury.

Crab makes this rice dish feel like an indulgent summer vacation.

If you don’t have crab meat on hand, you can certainly add cooked shrimp, marinated and cooked chicken, even a fried tofu in peanut sauce.


This dish is totally a rice for all seasons.  Top it with a small handful of extra toasted coconut for an awesome supper… or throw on a fried egg and call it breakfast.

It’s delicious!  Toasted coconut, crab and fresh cilantro!?  These are summer flavors in early spring.  I can feel it!  It’s totally almost time to bust out the short skirts and tank tops.  We’re close!  We’re so so close!

Coconut Crab Rice

recipe adapted from Very Fond of Food

serves 4

Print this Recipe!

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 small red chili, seeded and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 cup coconut milk

6 cups cooked basmati rice

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1 cup cooked crab meat

1 cup toasted unsweetened coconut, plus more for topping

zest and juice of 1 lime

small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook rice according to the package instructions.  Fluff and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add yellow onion and cook until translucent and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add pepper, garlic, coriander, and cumin, and cook for another 2 minute.  Add coconut milk and scrape the bottom of the pan to bring up any cooked bits of flavor.  Reduce heat to low and add the rice and stir to coat rice in coconut milk.  Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.  Sprinkle the rice with scallions, crab meat, toasted coconut, lime zest and juice, and fresh cilantro.  Toss all of these toppings into the rice and cook until the the mixture is well incorporated and the coconut milk is absorbed.  To serve, top rice with more toasted coconut and spicy chili sauce.  Rice dish is also delicious when served with a fried egg on top.

68 thoughts on “Coconut Crab Rice

  1. I would LOVE to make this; unfortunately, I’ve developed a shellfish allergy in the past few years! (sad face!)

    I still enjoyed the balance in your photos though. This might not satiate my palate, but it’s still chock-full of aesthetic value!

  2. Crab is a luxury especially when it’s hard to come by fresh ones. Makes me wish to be back in tropical Philippines. This dish looks absolutely delicious and I will settle for frozen crab just to have this. It’s a totally complete meal and doesnt need to be eaten with anything else, except for maybe a fruity drink on the side.

  3. Coconut milk (or flakes) makes just about everything seem much more tropical or vacation-ey. Same with lime and cilantro. Hope the weather is better up in L.A. than it is in San Diego. It’s miserable here the past couple days and I could use all the signs of summer possible!

  4. For a second i thought this recipe actually included a coconut crab, i.e. the scariest crustacean of them all lol. google image search one if you dare….

  5. This is such a wonderful summery recipe. I am so ready for summer…it was warm here a couple weeks ago and I was the happiest person. I live in Brussels and have been desperately looking for crab, but in the meantime, I’m going to have to make it with chicken…
    Also, I just ordered your cookbook and I cannot wait until it arrives!!!

  6. Wow, my husband would absolutely love this. Crab and rice, two of his favorite things!

    I am ready for summer, too… I’ve already been busting out my sandals even though it is still a bit too cool and my feet need serious help!

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