Best Ginataang Curacha (Crab) Recipes

Water covers about 71% of the Earth’s surface, and oceans hold about 96.5 % of it. Although you can find crabs in oceans, many live in fresh water and land, particularly in tropical regions. The Philippines is in the tropical region.

Curacha is also known as a spanner or red frog and is traditionally found from Zamboanga and not anywhere else. It is a hybrid crustacean, a large red crab that stays in the same color even after being cooked. Also unique for having its meat found in its body instead of its claws.

Curious about what good recipes you can make with the spanner, you don’t have to think about that, because we already have it prepared for you. Continue reading to find out more.

What is Best Ginataang Curacha

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Best Ginataang Curacha is a traditional Filipino dish often served as a main course. It is a dish made from stewed boiled Curacha and coconut with other added spices.

It is a ginataan dish, which means cooked in coconut (gata), that will give a very creamy and savory type of dish.

This simple dish may include many other ingredients like kalabasa, eggplant, sitaw, chili finger, okra, and ampalaya, and many more varieties of ingredients you want to add.

This featured dish is very simple and easy to prepare and cook at the same time. First, make sure that you cleaned your spanner. Boil it in a pot with enough water until cooked. While waiting, saute your garlic, onion, and ginger in a pan with enough oil. Add your spices to it, including the salt, ground black pepper, turmeric powder, and spinach leaves.

Then, after a few minutes, add your spanner and coconut milk. Wait until you see some boiling, then if you wish to add some fresh vegetables, you can add them before adding the spanner to make it softer.

You can now serve it as your main dish and look forward to the taste of delicious curacha sa gata.

Ways to Cook Ginataang Curacha

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For this particular dish, there are quite a few different cooking methods. Here we prepared some of the most common recipes for cooking a curacha sa gata dish.

Instant Pot

This cooking method makes everything easy and simple. You need to place all ingredients in an instant pot and use a multi-cooker that will set the time you need, from sauteing, simmering, and boiling all ingredients simultaneously. 


On the other hand, this is another simple technique of cooking curacha sa gata. This cooking technique will allow you to control the heat needed in cooking the featured dish. Just prepare a stove burner and pot with all the needed ingredients.

Then you’re all set to start cooking your dish, but remember to follow the step-to-step process in using this technique, from sauteing the onion, garlic, and ginger up to adding the seafood and coconut milk.

Pressure Cooker

Another cooking method on the list is the use of a pressure cooker. This method will help the food cook faster, using a sealed pot with steam inside to control the pressure. As the steam forms inside, it will raise the pressure in the pot. The more pressure, the faster your food will cook. 

As this featured dish has vegetables and seafood in it, the heat is limited to 212 degrees Fahrenheit as its boiling point.

Other Delicious Variants and Recipes 

Cooking a seafood dish in coconut milk can create many variations that can level up the taste. Check out some of the variations we listed for you to try at your comfort.

Spicy Ginataang Curacha

It is an enhanced version of the curacha sa gata. To elevate the dish add some species like the red chili pepper and siling panigang in your version. You may also use chili powders. 

Many people prefer eating spicy dishes. If you are one of those, you can enjoy this version of the featured dish.

With Kalabasa at Sitaw Recipes

Another variation is with squash and sitaw. This dish is simply adding vegetables such as squash and yardlong beans. By adding nutritious taste to the featured dish, and it would be perfect for trying this out. You’ll know the taste if you have already tried the Ginataang Kalabasa with Sitaw recipes.

Squash and Asparagus bean are vegetables that perfectly match each other. Most commonly used in other dishes like Kare-kare and Pinakbet.

With Alavar Sauce Recipes

Another version is the featured dish is in alavar sauce. This sauce, also known as the crab pastes sauce, is made from crab fat and spices. 

It originates from one of the natives in Zamboanga. It is a famous but well-kept family secret cooking method. 

With Shrimp Methods

In this version, you can make a special seafood type of featured dish. Filipinos are also known for eating and loving seafood cuisines. Adding shrimp will add to the dish’s savory and delicate taste, as it easily absorbs all the spices.


Curachas can only be found in Zamboanga and not in any other places. 

The said term is a Chavacano native term, which means spanner or red frog crab.

It is a hybrid of a large sea crab and a big spiny lobster. 

Most of the Curacha meat can be on its body rather than its claws, and its meat has several essential nutrients needed by our body, like minerals and fats.

Eating curacha can also boost your mental health, promote bone health, keep the cholesterol level balanced, improve your immune system, detoxify the body, and increase blood circulation. 

Listed above are some of the few trivia we have for you when you eat spanner. 

Tips for Cooking these Recipes

To make this simple featured dish better, we have some suggestions and tips for you to check out.

  • Always clean and wash your spanner before boiling.
  • Make sure to buy a new market-bought spanner.
  • Add spices according to your preference.
  • Do not overcook other ingredients.
  • You must use fresh coconut milk.

Troubleshooting for these Recipes

Errors are unavoidable when cooking, so here are some solutions as a remedy to your dish.

  • When the sauce turns out to be too thick, add more water to adjust the thickness.
  • It can turn out to taste bland. If that happens, add salt or spices, enough to give flavor to your dish.
  • Add coconut milk if it turns out to lack the creamy taste of the dish.
  • When the spanner seems to be not cooked yet, separate it from the other ingredient to avoid being overcooked, and simmer it for a few more minutes until perfectly softened.

Best Serve With

You may classify this dish as the main course. On that note, many recipes would complement the featured dish. Listed below are some of them.

  • Hot white rice- is a perfect match for this dish because it gives you the vibe of a complete meal course
  • Bagoong- is a condiment made from fermented fish or shrimp paste, and that would perfectly go with the featured dish.
  • Fried Tilapia– is a fried dish that would complement the creamy sauce and taste of the featured dish.
  • Fried Chicken– is another fried dish that would complement this Filipino dish.
  • Tortang dilis– is a fish-based dish that is perfect right to eat with the creamy and savory dish.
  • Soft drinks- is a carbonated drink perfect for serving with the heavy and creamy menu.
  • Pineapple Juice is another drink that gives a sweet taste that will complement the featured dish’s savory and salty taste.


Suppose you want to try unique ginataan types of recipes. This featured dish is perfect for you. 

With the simple and few ingredients, you can easily make a very tasty dish that everyone in your household would want to try. You can also add a different version of it according to your preference.

We have prepared you what you need to know, from the preparation, ingredients, process, variation, and other necessary information. We made sure that this article will help you in making your own.

Please take all the notes down, and let’s get started!

For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!


ginataang curacha on a wide plate
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Best Ginataang Curacha Recipe

Curacha is also known as spanner crab or red frog crab that is a traditional food in Zamboanga, Philippines. This delicious dish is cooked in coconut milk.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Seafood Recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 153kcal
Cost $5-20


  • 1 kg Spanner crab boiled, clean, and cut into half.
  • 1 pc White onion big and cut into cubes
  • 4 cloves Garlic crushed into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
  • 2 pcs Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 cup Coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 cup Spinach leaves


  • Heat oil in a pan, saute onion until softened, and then add ginger and garlic. Mix then pour the coconut milk and season with salt and ground black pepper. Continue stirring until boil.
  • Now add the spanner crab and cover. Bring to boil.
  • You can now add cayenne pepper, turmeric, and spinach leaves. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, transfer onto a serving plate, serve hot and enjoy!


Calories: 153kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 911IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2mg
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