Today I’m going to show you how to make a delicious Korean crab stew called kkotgetang (꽃게탕). You can enjoy not only sweet crab meat but also the spicy, savory, and hearty broth and soft, chunky, earthy vegetables. Rice, kkotgetang, and a few more side dishes will make for a complete and delicious typical Korean meal.

This stew is ideally made with fresh, live Korean crabs called kkotge, but you can also make it with frozen kkotge (often sold in Korean grocery stores), or even try using the local crabs available to you. Kkotge can be translated as “flower crab” and they are the ideal crabs for this dish because they have a lot of meat and the shells are very soft. When we eat kkotgetang, we crush the shells in our teeth to get the soft, sweet meat out, so the pliant shell of the kkotge is perfect. If you try this recipe with your local crab, be careful not to damage your teeth when you eat!

Check out my ganjang-gejang recipe if you want to learn how to clean your crabs at home, or ask your fishmonger to clean for you. In New York I can’t find fresh, live kkotge, so I tried them frozen from the Korean grocery store, and they were pretty good!

In the video I use milky water from rinsing my rice to make the stew, but you can use just water. Using the milky water is something that I’ve always done, and I’m not even sure why I do it! I think it makes the soup tastier and gives it a bit of thickness.

Enjoy the recipe and let us know how it turns out! Happy cooking!

kkotge crab-seller

Kkotge sold at Noryangjin fish market in Seoul


Serves: 4


Total cooking time 35-40 minutes

If using frozen crabs

frozen-kkotge (frozen crabs: 냉동꽃게)

  1. Thaw the crabs out in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  2. Take them out. Cut the tips off the legs and cut the crabs into bite size pieces.
  3. Rinse in cold water and strain.

Make kkotgetang

  1. Put the anchovies in a bag or tea strainer to keep them together. Add to a pot with 3½ cups water. Add radish, soybean paste, and hot pepper paste. Boil for 20 minutes over medium to make kkotgetang (꽃게탕: Korean crab stew)
  2. Remove the anchovies.
  3. Add onion, zucchini, green onion, garlic, green chili pepper, and the crab. Cover and cook another 15 minutes over medium high heat until the crabs are well cooked and the radish looks to make kkotgetang (꽃게탕: Korean crab stew)
  4. Stir the stew with a spoon. Add the extra 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes if you want to make kkotgetang (꽃게탕: Korean crab stew)
  5. Add chrysanthemum greens and red chili pepper as a garnish. Remove it from the heat and serve hot with rice and a few more side to make kkotgetang (꽃게탕: Korean crab stew)
  6. You can keep leftovers in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.

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  1. Jez Singapore joined 7/20 & has 2 comments

    Thank you for all the delicious recipes… I have used a few of them and they are all so yummy! Made kkotgetang recently using flower crabs and they turn out so good :)

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  2. Jojietha Kuwait joined 11/18 & has 2 comments

    Hello Maangchi I want to try this soup it’s look appetizing just want to ask if any substitution for
    I hope you notice my quistion/comment Manngchi.
    God’s speed and thank you!

  3. I made my first 꽃게탕 today!!!!!!!!! its so good. I used dungeness crab instead of the

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  4. Joyce Yu Irvine, CA. joined 9/09 & has 17 comments

    Hi Maangchi, how are you? It’s been a while. I love this recipe and I will make it for Bok. Question, how many quarts is your Le Creuset Dutch oven on this video? I’m going to buy one as it’s a perfect size for your recipes and for our family. Miss you… still hope someday I will meet you… – Joyce

  5. beixi Memphis, TN joined 10/16 & has 1 comment

    I made this tonight as my first soup dish to try and it’s excellent! I used Snow Crab, which is very hard shelled so I boiled and de-shelled it prior to starting. It’s too bad my local Asian market didn’t have Flower Crab. They seem to have everything else though. I added some leftover Enoki mushroom and some shrimp for personal taste. The doenjang is most definitely the important part, the taste is very distinct. Dried anchovies are a little out of my price range due to where I live, but I substituted “anchovy and kelp soup base” (Sempio brand) that I’ve been using regularly instead.

    I made bok choy with doenjang, a few leftover fish cakes, and rice as side dishes.Thank you for this wonderful recipe! Oh, and thanks to this new interest in Korean cooking my rabbit has fallen in love with napa cabbage. (And bok choy) He goes wild for it! I have to buy one for me and one for him all the time ;)

  6. sfarber5300 Reynoldsburg, OH joined 10/16 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I’ve been following you for quite a while now and love your recipe videos and your wonderful book. I’ve been making kimchi, kkakdugi, pancakes, you name it, and love your food.

    Today I found live blue crabs at the Asian market and decided to give your kkotgetang a try. They didn’t have some of the ingredients so I “punted” and made some substitutions while preserving the spirit of what you wrote. I used kkakdugi in place of fresh radish (they didn’t have any at the store) and yu choi sum and red cabbage in the place of the other veg you called for.

    The biggest difference is that I par-cooked the crabs, saved and strained the broth and removed the shell and gills and cut-up the crabs before completing the recipe. It came out delicious and rich with the earthiness of the doenjang and spiciness of the gochujang. Some last minute gochugaru took the whole thing over the top.

    Your work is so appreciated. I am always cooking something from your book and always repeating my favorites.

    Thank you for everything you do,


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  7. aTrueRedHead Germany joined 8/14 & has 17 comments

    Now I was finally able to make it. And as I thought it tasted great, even with the Blue Crabs. I served it with glazed carrots. The sweetness of the carrots complemented well with this meal.
    Thank you for sharing it with us

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  8. aTrueRedHead Germany joined 8/14 & has 17 comments

    Hello Maangchi
    This is a delicious looking recipe that I hope that I will be able to make soon. The only problem is that I can not find all the right ingredients. For example, all I can finde here are blue crabs. Can I use them, even though they are harder than the Korean crabs?
    Greetings from Germany

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