This aromatic and sumptuous simple crab curry is rich in flavour yet light on your palette, without taking away from the sweetness of the meat, and makes for a great accompaniment to rice or chapattis.
I love seafood in various forms, as long as the flavours allow the meat to sing. Too much spice, and there’s little else you can taste, what with your tongue on fire and the copious amounts of water to wash it down. There are cooks who believe that the delicate and sweet nature of seafood must be combated with an array of harsh spices. It’s quite sad. Whatever spice you use, in whatever amount, ensure that is complements the seafood dish, and doesn’t drown it.
True to its name, this crab curry is quite simple to make really. Yes, there are many ingredients, but they’re designed to complement the crab. Whenever I make a seafood curry, I make it in an earthen pot (I use that particular pot only for seafood curries) — the pot of choice a few generations ago.
Passed down to me from my grandmother and my mother, this simple crab curry if a family favourite. Serve it up with red rice or plain white rice or chapattis.
Simple Crab Curry
- 1/2 kg crabs
- 2 medium onions, 1 thinly sliced, and 1 to grind
- 3 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
- 4 small to medium tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1” piece of cinnamon
- 3 cloves
- 1 cardimam
- 1/2 spoon fennel seeds
- A heaped 1/2 cup of chopped coconut
- 2-3 cups water
- 4 tablespoons of any vegetable oil (I added sunflower oil)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Clean and wash the crabs, then to the same vessel, add some water, 2 pinches of turmeric powder and 2 pinches of salt. Let the crabs rest until it’s time to cook them.
- Roast the coconut, till it starts browning and you get a lovely coconutty aroma.
- Add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cloves and fennel to the coconut and broil for a minute.
- Turn off the heat, and add the tomatoes and 1 quartered onion, and let it all rest for a good 10 minutes.
- In a blender, grind together all that you roasted and broiled, and the tomatoes and onion.
- In a pot, add four tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Once it is hot, add the thinly sliced onions, and fry them till they turn golden. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry it all for a further 2 minutes, or until you no longer get the raw smell.
- Add the turmeric powder and red chilli powder to the pot and let them fry for 30 seconds before to add the mixture you just ground.
- Constantly turn the ingredients about in the pot. Let it all simmer away until you see the oil rise to the top.
- Then add 2 cups of water and let it boil and simmer for 10 minutes under a lid, by which time the water would have also reduced.
- Add more water if you want you gravy thinner.
- Now lightly crack the shell of the crab with a pestle or rolling pin, especially the claws, so the gravy gets to the meat quickly. Take care not to break the shell!
- Add the crabs into the simmering gravy and cook for 12 minutes on medium heat.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes before your serve it.