- 6 live (1-pound ea) crabs
- 1 cup vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 large tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig parsley
- 3 large onions
- 2 whole cloves
- 3 limes, juiced
- 1 tablespoon dende oil
- 1 teaspoon Pili Pili
- Wash the crabs and place them live in a large stockpot full of boiling water to which the vinegar, salt, and pepper have been added.
- Cook the crabs for 10 minutes, skimming off any residue that rises to the top of the water. T
- Remove the tomatoes after 5 minutes and continue to cook the rest of the ingredients for an additional 5 minutes or until the crabs are done.
- Remove the crabs. (You may wish to reserve the water in which the crabs have been cooked to use for cooking the white rice that traditionally accompanies this dish.)
- Remove the crabmeat from the body and the claws, trying to maintain the shells for serving.
- Place the crabmeat in the lime juice.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan.
- Mince the two remaining onions and brown them lightly in the oil.
- Add the cooked tomatoes and cook the mixture until it is reduced to a pastelike consistency.
- When the mixture is reduced, add the Pili Pili, stir to ensure that the flavors are mixed, verify flavoring, and serve hot.
- The crabs are traditionally served in their own shells or in ceramic shells, on a bed of rice covered with the sauce.
- Alternately, the sauce may be served separately in a sauceboat.
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