Aunty Tapuna’s crab and green mango

Aunty Tapuna’s crab and green mango

My Feast
Chris Chen

Perched high above the ocean in the Cook Islands, Aunty Tapuna has her own little market garden in her yard and a good relationship with all the fisher people of the island. Below her house is a lovely little restaurant where she serves only the freshest food. her crabs are famous all over the islands. She generously shared her famous crab recipe with me, and the best part was hunting the crabs the night before with Dave the fisherman.


Quantity Ingredient
1 live mud crab
100ml olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoon mixed herbs, chopped, (such as coriander/ cilantro, basil, parsley, chives, dill, spring onion/ scallion)
50g butter
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4 green mangoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 long red chilli, sliced
100ml white wine


  1. Put the crabs in the freezer for 1 hour to immobilise them or in a bucket of iced water for 15 minutes. Pull off the top shell, pull out the spongy grey gills and remove the guts. Chop the crab into 6 pieces and crack the large claws but leave them a ached.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 5–6 minutes or until soft . Add the herbs and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the butter, season with salt and pepper, then add the chilli and half the mango and stir for 3 minutes or until the mango starts to break down.
  3. Add the wine to slow the cooking process, then add the crab, placing the claws in the pan first. Add the remaining mango on top, cover with foil, then a lid and cook over high heat, shaking the pan often to avoid sticking, for 5–7 minutes or until steam pushes through the lid. Carefully remove the lid and serve immediately.
My Sri Lanka
Island Feast
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