The Happy Home Cook: Pasta with Crab Paste - Taba ng Talangka

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Pasta with Crab Paste - Taba ng Talangka (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Pasta with Crab Paste - Taba ng Talangka (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

During summer in the Philippines, my mother often purchased talangka (tiny crabs) from her suki (favorite vendor) at the fish market. She used to manually cook and extract the bright orange, fatty crab paste. I remembered my mom’s process when I brought back a bottle of Taba ng Talangka from my trip to the Philippines. I cooked this Pasta with Crab Paste-Taba ng Talangka, which was my version of cooking with the rich, salty crab fat paste. Traditionally, we enjoy taba ng talangka on steamed white rice and sprinkled with kalamansi, the Filipino lime. This time, I went a step further and added the savory crab paste to pasta, sprinkled the citrus and garnished it with tart slices of green mango. The results were amazing and it was an easy dish to put together. This is an Asian in America recipe. Serves 2.

Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course 


8 ounces Pappardelle pasta boiled al dente

1/2-pound large fresh shrimps peeled, heads & tails removed, par-boiled in the pasta water

2 teaspoons kalamansi or lemon juice for boiling shrimps

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic peeled and minced

3/4 cup taba ng talangka (crab paste) bottled, from Asian markets

1/4 cup kalamansi or lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 slice fresh green mangoes peeled, sliced vertically in slim strips, for garnish


1. Boil Pappardelle pasta for 8 minutes till al dente. Drain pasta and set aside.

Reserve pasta water for boiling shrimps. (*Note: If using other types of pasta, follow directions on package on how to cook).

2.  In a medium-sized stockpot, using the pasta water, par boil the shrimps with the kalamansi or lemon juice. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes till shrimps turn pink. When shrimps are cooked, drain and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the oil. When oil is hot, sauté the garlic for one minute.

4. Add the boiled shrimps and crab paste.

5. Pour the kalamansi or lemon juice. Blend well for one minute.

6. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Mix ingredients well. Season with salt and black pepper.

7.  Arrange pasta with crab paste on a platter. Garnish with slices of green mango. Serve warm.

Cook's comments: Use other types of pasta if preferred. I have used fettucine and spaghetti pasta for this dish

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey is a journalist and author of the “Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Philippine Food In a Multicooker Pot” Cookbook. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and blogs about Filipino home cooking on her site

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