Wednesday, 1 February 2012




     1)    Big mud crab – 2 kg.
     2)    Coconut oil – 2 tablespoons
     3)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
     4)    Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
     5)    Onion – 250 gm.
     6)    Ginger – 1 inch piece
     7)    Garlic – 1 small pod
     8)    Mild green chilies – 3 Nos.
     9)    Tomato – 250 gm.
     10)     Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
     11)     Hot red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
     12)     Cinnamon stick – a 2 inch piece
     13)     Cloves – 4 Nos.
     14)     Star anise – 1
     15)     Grated coconut – 2 tablespoons
     16)     Cashew nuts – 25 gm.
     17)     Salt – 1½ teaspoon

To Prepare:

          Remove the carpace (hard outer shell of the crab) and clean out the inedible parts. Twist and pull out the claws. If the crab is too big, cut into a couple of pieces. Wash thoroughly, drain and set aside.

          Peel the ginger, the onion and the garlic. Discard the stems of the green chilies. Chop the onions, the garlic, the ginger and the chilies to pieces and put them into the food processor. Grind to fine paste and set aside.

          Cut the tomato into chunks, grind to paste and set aside separately. Pluck the curry leaves from their sprigs and set aside. Now put the grated coconut and the cashew nuts into the food processor. Pour in a cup of water and grind to fine paste.

To Cook:

          Set a wide pan or curry vessel on high heat. Pour in the coconut oil. Tip in the mustard seeds. When they are about to finish popping, tip in the onion-garlic-ginger-chili paste together with the curry leaves. Stir and put in the cinnamon stick, the cloves and the star anise. Stir nicely taking care not to let the mixture burn at the base till most of the moisture evaporates.

          Now pour in the tomato paste and tip in the salt. Continue to stir till it thickens nicely. Tip in the chili powder and the turmeric powder. Stir for a minute and put in the crabs. Tip in the coconut-cashew paste and pour in enough water to immerse the crabs. Cover with a lid. As soon as it comes to a boil, lower the heat.

          The crab meat will turn opaque and white in colour when cooked. Let the gravy thicken a little bit. Taste and add more chili powder if you want it hotter. Add more salt if required. Stir and switch off the heat. Let rest for at least half an hour. Serve with soft parboiled rice, chappatis, porottas or vellappams.

          You can also use large sea crabs, tiger prawns, lobsters or fresh sweet mussel meat in place of mud crabs to make this special curry.

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