Cambodian Stir Fry Crabs – Cha Kdam

Has it been really 2 months since I’ve updated my blog?! Geeeez how lazy am I? JK. I’ve been thinking of what direction I want to take this blog. As much as I love American food, I noticed my top hits are Cambodian recipes. I get it. It’s time for Cambodian food to shine. There aren’t a lot of really nice blogs out there committed to Khmer food. I will try my best to dish out Khmer food, but I’m no expert. My mother is the expert and I will try to share her recipes…like the one today.

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I’ve been wanting to post this recipe for awhile now, but it’s so hard to find fresh blue crabs here in Minnesota. I finally found some and today is your lucky day! I wouldn’t even call this a recipe. It’s so simple and easy, basically opening a jar of minced crab paste and using it as the stir fry base and adding a few extra ingredients to enhanced the paste. Let’s get started! (cutting my wordings by a lot too because I hate blogs who go on and on about the recipes, about their lives, about their kids etc…cmon let’s be honest…we’re only here to see pics! 😉 )

Clean your fresh blue crabs.

Clean your fresh blue crabs. I tend to pick large female crabs. I usually find they have more meat to them.

Chop the crab into pieces.

Chop the crab into pieces. Poor crabs…

Chop up your veggies.

Chop up your veggies.

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Heat a wok over medium heat. Add oil and sugar, cooking until it starts to melt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, swirling pan frequently, 4-5 minutes or until caramel is bubbling. Add minced garlic. Cook for 1 min, do not let garlic burn.

Add your crab pieces.

Add crab pieces into the wok. Sprinkle some salt over top ( I did about 3 pinches of salt). Stir. Yes, I need a bigger wok. *If your crab didn’t yield a lot of liquid, add about 1/4 cup water. Turn your heat up high. Let it come to a boil and cover for 5 mins.

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*Your water should evaporate by now, if you have a large amount of water left in the wok you can simple pour it out.  After 5 mins your crab should be halfway cooked. Now add the whole jar of the crab paste. Stir until crabs are drenched in the paste.

Add your bell pepper and onion. Sprinkle a little salt over the top. Stir some more. Cover for another 5-8mins or crabs are fully cooked. Do a taste test...add more salt or sugar if needed.

Add your bell pepper and onion. Sprinkle a little salt over the top. Stir some more. Cover for another 5-8mins or crabs are fully cooked. Do a taste test…add more salt or sugar if needed. I REALLY need a bigger wok.

One of my favorite dishes my mother makes! So damn easy too!

One of my favorite dishes my mother makes! So damn easy too!

Serve with warm rice and plenty of napkins!

Serve with warm rice and plenty of napkins!


Cambodian Stir Fry Crab – Cha Kdam (serves 2, probably could serve more but we don’t know since my bf and I ate it all. HAHA!)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A wok (like this one) large enough to stir the crab around
  • 6-8 fresh blue crabs (make sure they are alive, we prefer female crabs.)
  • 1 jar crab paste in soya bean oil (found at Asian stores) or just order here if you don’t have one near you
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 5-6 tsp of sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt

  1. Clean and cut crab, set aside in a bowl.
  2. Heat a wok over medium heat. Add oil and sugar, cooking until it starts to melt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, swirling pan frequently, 4-5 minutes or until caramel is bubbling.
  3. Add garlic. Do not let garlic burn.
  4. Add crab pieces into the wok. Sprinkle some salt over top ( I did about 3 pinches of salt). Stir.
  5. If your crab didn’t yield a lot of liquid, add about 1/4 cup water. Turn your heat up high. Let it come to a boil and cover for 5 mins. *Your water should evaporate by now, if you have a large amount of water left in the wok you can simple pour it out.
  6. After 5 mins your crab should be halfway cooked. Now add the whole jar of the crab paste. Stir until it drenches the crab.
  7. Add your bell pepper and onion. Sprinkle a little salt over the top. Stir some more. Cover for another 5-8mins or crabs are fully cooked. Do a taste test…add more salt or sugar if needed.
  8.  Serve with warm rice and plenty of napkins!

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