Alimango or Alimasag are the two types of crabs (there are several) common to the Philippines. Alimango have a rounder body with round, thick claws, these are mud crabs. With the alimango crab there is more meat and it is easier to get the meat from the shell than an alimasag, or blue crab. In Palawan, this is a favorite dish for the locals. Actually, all kinds of seafood are available in Palawan. Including, squid or pusit, mussels or tahong, clams or tulya, oysters or talaba, very small crabs called talangka, and escargot or suso, more commonly known as snails. The marinate for alimango sa aligue is a coconut cream base, so it is sweet and quite delicious.
Serve this with white rice and seaweed salad, if available in your area. You’re going to love it! If you’re dining at a Philippine restaurant ask for Lato, though most will know seaweed salad. This is simply seaweed in white vinegar, a splash of patis, red onions, diced fresh tomatoes, and a squirt of calamansi/lime juice. You can vary this recipe to your taste, some like sliced boiled eggs or fresh green mango slices in it as well.
You can use this recipe with just about any seafood, not just crabs and the sauce is great over pasta or rice. However, you clean your live crabs before cooking, be careful. The best way I have found is to use running water and a pair of tongs. The best humane method is to put your crabs to sleep first. After you have cleaned them well, put them in a bucket of ice water for ten minutes to put them to sleep. And, never use salt in your cooking water. You don’t want to use a lot of water, it is better to steam than boil.
Ingredients for Alimango sa Aligue
1 or 2 kilos of crabs, preferable large, fat ones
¼ cup of chopped onions
2 tablespoons of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of ginger (thinly sliced)
1 mild finger or banana pepper (siling pansigang, thinly sliced)
½ cup of bottled crab paste (Aligue)
2 cups of coconut milk (fresh is best, but you can use canned)
1 cup of coconut cream
1 teaspoon of fish sauce (patis)
Directions for Alimango sa Aligue
In a medium sized kettle, or pot heat the oil and sauté the onions, ginger, garlic, and finger pepper until the onions are translucent; add crab paste and continue for 2 minutes; pour in coconut milk and add patis and let simmer for a five minutes; add crabs and let simmer another 15 minutes, do not overcook; transfer the crabs to a serving plate; in the pan add the coconut cream and simmer for two or three minutes until the sauce thickens, season with salt and pepper, as desired; and then add the crabs back in and just heat thoroughly.
Serve this with the white rice and seaweed salad, if available in your area. You’re going to love it! If you’re dining at a Philippine restaurant ask for Lato, though most will know seaweed salad. This is simply seaweed in white vinegar, a teaspoon of patis, red onions, diced fresh tomatoes, and a squirt of calamansi/lime juice. You can vary this recipe to your taste, some like sliced boiled eggs or fresh green mango slices as well.