Coconut crab and seafood platter

Coconut crab and seafood platter

My Feast
Chris Chen

The flavour of the coconut crab is delicious. Hunting them in Vanuatu was dangerous but I was fortunate enough to have the village Chief Mor Mor as my guide. He is a wise man with a sustainable outlook. He took only what he needed as he wanted to preserve the bounties of the ocean for his children and grandchildren.


Quantity Ingredient
1 coconut crab or mud crab, cleaned
1 litre second-extract coconut milk, (see note)
6 small green chillies, coarsely chopped
2 limes, juiced
salt, to taste
2 parrotfish or other reef fish, scaled and cleaned
10 small land crabs or blue swimmer crabs
2kg large sea snails
boiled cassava, to serve
Chilli, lime and seawater sauce


  1. Place the coconut crab, coconut milk, chilli, lime juice and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil, then cover and cook for 9 minutes. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, remove the crab and set aside.
  2. Add the fish to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 12 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Reserve some of the coconut sauce for serving.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over high heat, add the land crabs, bring back to the boil and cook for 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Preheat a barbecue grill to high. Cook the sea snails for 4 minutes (ideally you would cook these on a wire rack over an open fire).
  5. To serve, break the coconut crab into pieces and crack the claws, then do the same with the smaller land crabs. Serve the crab, fish and sea snails on a large platter with the boiled cassava. Serve with the chilli, lime and seawater sauce and the reserved coconut sauce for dipping the seafood and cassava into.


  • To make second-extract coconut milk, crack a coconut with the back of a large cleaver. Reserve the coconut water as it drains out. For this recipe you’ll need 1 litre of coconut water; if you don’t have enough, top up with filtered water. Scrape out the white flesh and trim off the brown membrane. Grate the flesh with a hand-grater or in a food processor. Place the grated flesh and 250 ml filtered water in a blender and, using the pulse action, process until everything is well combined and the flesh is soft. Line a sieve with muslin and place over a bowl. Pour in the blended coconut, then gather the sides of the muslin and squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible from the flesh. This is known as first-extract coconut milk or coconut cream. Reserve this for another recipe. To make the second extract, repeat the process using the same coconut flesh and the reserved coconut water.
My Sri Lanka
Island Feast
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