Sek Pau Mei

The misadventures of the heart and sometimes, the stomach.

Recipe: Lemongrass, Lime, and Coriander Pasta

This picture of an attempt at Gordon Ramsay’s dish was one of the reasons that got people to notice my food album.

This was the first time where instead of throwing my food onto a plate and haphazardly snapping a photo, I make the extra effort to style it and actually wipe down the plate before the actual shot.

Please ignore the stray crab meat on the lower right hand corner.

People have asked for the recipe and true to its name, it is a very simple pasta dish that packs so so much flavor.

My only complaint though? Crab meat is so expensive.

Now let us be realistic here, although it is much cheaper to buy a whole crab, boil and de-meat it yourself, it is highly impractical and requires the one thing that I lack: patience.

If you buy it from the supermarket, the cheaper brands are more water than crab and usually smells like sewage and the more expensive ones are well, expensive. 

But I don’t want it to deter you though. I have made this with prawns, squid, imitation crab (the horror!) and sometimes, even plain.

Just the potent mix of lemongrass, shallots and lime juice is good enough to make you forget that you’re lacking the protein.  

One thing that I would beg that you never compromise on is the use of coriander or cilantro.

I know this is a very acquired herb. It is strong, potent and lingers for awhile after. But it is also brave and stands up to any thing you put it up against.

That is one of the reasons why it can not be substituted with any other herb. 

This dish is simple and so very delicious. It can be done in under 10 minutes, depending on the type of pasta you use. It is light and refreshing and at times, a nice change from your typical aglio oglio or meat sauces. It’s one of my family’s favorites. 

Oh, and go ahead, use imitation crab. I won’t tell on you. 


Crab meat/Shrimp/Clams/Squid
2 – 3 stalks of lemongrass* 
4-5 shallots
Chili or dried chili flakes
Too much coriander 
Spring onion (both stems and green parts)
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Pasta of choice

1. Cook your pasta according to package instructions. 
2. In a cold pan, put in your lemongrass with olive oil and chili. Allow it to infuse.
3. Once your pasta has got 2/3 minute left till its al dante, add your shallots and spring onion.
4. Once these have began to colour, throw in your crab meat to warm through
5. Drain your pasta and mix well.
6. Squeeze in your lime juice, season with salt and pepper.
7. Throw (no other verbs can be used) in your chopped coriander and toss.
8. Serve immediately (you wouldn’t want to wait) and garnish with more coriander.

*Trim off the woody ends of the lemon grass  and peel off the outer layer. Using the back of the knife, bruise the entire length. You may want to fish it out before serving. 


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