Crab curry

Anjum Anand's ultimate Indian dish is curried crab in a thick, spicy sauce made from an abundance of fragrant spices and plenty of garlic
By Anjum Anand
Crab curry
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 7 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 20 fenugreek seeds
  • 8 cloves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 15 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 medium-large onions, chopped
  • 3-5 green chillies, whole but pierced with the tip of a knife
  • 10 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 small-medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 15 g ginger, peeled weight, grated
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp chilli powder, or to taste, or crushed red chilies
  • 1 tbsp cumin, powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander, powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric, powder
  • 2 x 750 g whole cooked crab, ask your fishmonger to break and clean them for you, separated into white and brown meat
  • 1 - 11/2 tsp tamarind paste, or to taste
  • 100-200 ml coconut milk, optional
  • steamed basmati rice, to serve


1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan or karahi pan or wok. Stir in the fenugreek, cloves and peppercorns and once the fenugreek seeds have browned, drop in the curry leaves. Mix in the onions and green chillies and cook until golden brown.

2. Meanwhile, blend together the garlic, tomatoes, ginger and a good splash of water until smooth. Put in the pan along with the chilli, cumin, coriander and turmeric powder and season with salt. Bring to a boil then simmer until the masala releases oil into the pan. Gently stir-fry the paste for a further 5-7 minutes to intensify the flavours.

3. Pour in 800ml water and bring to a boil. Stir in the tamarind paste and adjust the seasoning. Put the white crab and brown meat in the pan, bring back to a boil, then cover and simmer over a moderate heat until the crab is warmed through. There should only be a little liquid left. Stir in the coconut milk, if using, and add a little boiled water to the pan if it needs a little more sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning and tamarind to taste, then serve with the steamed rice.

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