Pasta with Crab Fat [Aligue]

Food Trip  /   /  By Rica Espiritu  /  89 views

There are people who have the patience to make aligue [ah-league-eh]. Aligue is the filipino word for crab fat. These are extracted not just from ANY crab. They’re taken out of crabs that are thumbsized called talangka or shore crabs. They live along riverbanks and mangrove forests. They’re so small that they don’t have meat… just fat. And that’s what they are harvested for…their fat.

12 years ago, somebody taught me how to do a very simple Aligue [crab fat] Pasta. I loved it so much that I keep returning to it after doing variations of the same recipe. That person who taught me this recipe was a friend of one of my staff…back when I used to run an offshore business.

It was the end of a work week and while waiting for the traffic to lighten, some decided to hang out in the office. This guy was politically connected both in a good way and in a bad way. After telling us how his day went, he started talking about food…and this was one of the dishes that he loved and why he loved it.

Since I had some aligue in the office fridge, I decided to cook dinner for everyone using his simple recipe.

  • 1 tablespoon of aligue ( crab fat)
  • 400 grams spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package direction
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter [optional]
  • 12 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute garlic in olive oil, add the aligue and then juice of one lemon. As everything simmers, mix in the pasta until every strand is thinly coated. Serve immediately. What makes this good is that EACH strand carries the subtle hint of crab and lemon. It has to be subtle.

For those who wish the taste to be stronger, you can add one or all of the ingredients below [that would enhance the seafood taste..]…

  • tomatoes OR cream
  • steamed mussels or shrimp or both
  • fresh basil

 

I had that trip down memory lane as I cooked that for dinner… actually I felt myself bloating with every bite!

 

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