Gulla Gichi Recipe: Carolina Crab Rice

Picture of Amethyst Ganau

To me, crab rice is one of the lowest quality, well-kept and well-chosen recipes from the geographical and cultural regions of the lowlands, the coast of South Carolina and the Sea Islands. Everyone has their own way of doing it, but it is always recognized, no matter where it is served.

Typically, we only use catch-and-cooked sweet blue crab meat that is found and eaten in this region. Since I have traveled all over the country, however, it has become difficult for me to find the favorite blue crab of my youth, and I use replacement whenever possible. When the hot days come, I wish myself a big plate or a bowl of crab rice.

Using Sally Ann Robinson’s “Ol ‘Fusky Fried Crab Rice” recipe as a base, I could not only create my own version of the crab I grew up eating, but I could remember that I was at home in Charleston, and with my community and culture. Feel connected for even a moment.

Wednesday, February February night. I invite you and my chef BJ Dennis to cook during “Migration Stories: Sustaining Gulla Gichi Cooking Land and Sea”. You can even cook earlier and enjoy during the program. The event will air in Zoom and tickets are required. Register for 15 15 through our partner agency, Food and Drink Museum.

If you plan to cook, we recommend that you prepare the following items before starting the program:

  • Rice: Wash, drain and cook thoroughly.
  • Bacon: Dice, cook in pan until crispy, remove from pan. (Leave the fat in the pan; it will be used to cook vegetables and rice.)
  • Vegetables: Dye celery, bell peppers and onions.
  • Crab meat: If frozen, defrost is used.

Amethyst Ganaway recipe
Adapted from Gulla Home Cooking at Daufsky Way By Sally Ann Robinson

Serves 2 or 4 for a full meal

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour


1 cup long grain white rice, not cooked
2 cups water
Small pinch of salt
2-3 strips thickly cut bacon, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, any color, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound crabmate, cooked (like powder, but anyone will)
Garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper to taste


Rinse the dried rice 3 to 4 times under cold water. Place the washed rice in a small bowl, cover with 2 cups of water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pan, and let the rice cook continuously for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, crack the id of the pot so that the rice can stop cooking, and set aside.

In a small pan, fry the bacon pieces over medium-low heat until all the fat has accumulated and the bacon is crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully remove the bacon pieces and set them aside. Save the rendered fat in the pan.

On medium heat, add celery, bell pepper and onion to pan with bacon fat and fry for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are soft and onion is transparent. Then add the crab meat and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the crab starts to crisp.

Add the cooked rice, bacon and seasonings to the pan with the vegetables. Include all ingredients until evenly mixed, reduce and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

Amethyst Ganaway, aka The Gichi Gordita, is a food industry professional and a resident of North Charleston. She began her career in restaurants as a server and cashier and now works in recipe development, catering and food writing.

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