Crab Marari Stew

Dagil John Mathews makes a hearty spiced stew with crackling curry leaves, chunks of crab and creamy coconut milk
Crab Marari Stew
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 20 curry leaves
  • 4 dried chillies
  • 3 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 piece ginger, (4cm)shredded
  • 3 red onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 blade mace
  • cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 3cm cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 medium potato, boiled until barely tender and cut into chunks
  • 350 ml hot water
  • 500 g whole crab, cleaned and chopped into large pieces
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
  • 200 ml coconut milk

Tips and Suggestions

Coconut milk is sold in cartons and cans from supermarkets.


1. Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and toss in the curry leaves followed by the chillies, garlic, ginger and onions. Stir and fry for a minute or two over a moderate heat.

2. Add the cloves, mace, cardamoms, bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns and turmeric to the pan. Swirl around for a few seconds - when you catch a whiff of the spices, add the parboiled and chunked potato to the pan with the hot water.

3. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the chopped crab along with two bruised lemon grass stems. Stir and simmer until the crab shell turns a lovely deep red colour and the potatoes are soft - this should take about 10-15 minutes.

4. Pour the coconut milk into the pan and gently reheat the stew without boiling. Serve straight away.

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