Kerala Crab Curry

DSC_0597 (Large)

Seafood being the most loved food of Keralites, you can probably find a few different variations of making any seafood curry, just within Kerala :-).  Kerala crab curry or the Naadan njandu curry is no exception, this is my mom's style of preparation and one of my favorites too.

Ingredients (serves 3)

 For MarinationDSC_0551 (Medium)

  1. Crab - 1/2 Kg
  2. Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tbsp
  3. Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
  4. Salt - 1 tsp

For Roasting

  1. Coconut - 1 cup (grated)DSC_0562 (Medium)
  2. Pepper - 1 tsp
  3. Dry Kashmiri chilli - 3 pieces
  4. Shallot (Cheriya ulli) - 3 tbsp (sliced)
  5. Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  6. Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
  7. Oil - 3 tbsp
  8. Onion - 1 big sized (sliced thin lengthwise)
  9. Tomato - 1 medium sized (sliced lengthwise)
  10. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  11. Green chilli - 2 pieces
  12. Curry leaves - a few
  13. Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
  14. Mustard seed - 1 tsp
  15. Tamarind - size of a lemon


Cleaning the crab

  1. Hold the crab in one hand and cut off the two long legs with teeth.
  2. The side opposite to the hard shell would have a flap like thing. Hold the crab firmly with one hand and open the flap using the other hand. Next insert your thumb between the flap and the hard shell and try to pull out the hard shell.
  3. Turn the crab again and gently scrape away the gills on either side with your thumb and also throw away the intestine, which runs down the center of the back.
  4. Clean the crab under running water, remove any yellow colored pulpy stuff. Once thoroughly cleaned, you should only have the white portions of the crab.
  5. If the crab is considerably small, the legs can be kept as it is, otherwise twist off the legs. Clean the legs and the crab under running water.
  6. Again, if the crab is considerably small, the body can be left as it is, else break it into two halves.

Prepare the Tamarind juice

Soak the tamarind in half a cup of water. Mix the tamarind well with water till it gets dissolves. Filter the contents to get the tamarind juice.

Marinate the Crab

Marinate the crab using turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Keep the marinated crab for around half an hour.

Roast the coconut

DSC_0552 (Medium)Heat a pan and add 2 tbsp of oil. Add grated coconut, pepper, dry red chillis and shallot. On a low flame, saute the ingredients well. When the coconut turns dark brown, add coriander powder, garam masala powder and mix well. Once mixed, turn off the stove and allow the mixture to cool. Grind the mixture to get a good powder, add a bit of water, again grind the mix to get a thick paste.

DSC_0557 (Medium)

DSC_0554 (Medium)

 Prepare the curry

Pour a tbsp of oil on to a pan on a medium flame. Add mustard seeds to it once the oil is heated up. When the mustard seeds stops to flutter, add onion and saute well till it turns DSC_0574 (Medium)slightly transparent. Add curry leaves, ginger garlic paste, green chilli and turmeric powder,  saute the mix. Add the marinated crabs, tamarind juice and sliced tomatoes. Cover the pan and allow to boil on medium-high flame.

When the mix starts to boil, add the roasted coconut paste, a cup of water and salt to taste and mix well. Cover the pan and leave it on medium flame till the crab is well cooked.  Continue on medium flame till the gravy becomes slightly thick. Switch off the stove, remove the lid and leave the pan open for around ten minutes.

DSC_0600 (Medium)DSC_0577 (Medium)

Hot and spicy crab curry is now ready to be served, it goes equally good with rice, chappati and appam to name a few combos 🙂

DSC_0591 (Large)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *