Crab Curry Recipe

The aromatic, light spices in this gorgeous crab curry let the sweet flavour of the crab meat sing. You should try serving this curry with plain boiled rice and plenty of gravy. You could alternatively lighten the dish, reduce the amount of gravy by adding less water.

  • Cooking Time: 30 mins 
  • Prep: 20 mins 
  • Cook: 10 mins 
  • Yield: Serves 4 – 6


You can purchase all of these ingredients at your friendly B. Nagiah’s stores in KwaZulu Natal & Gauteng.

  • 8 – 10 crabs available
  • 1 1/2-inch lump of tamarind
  • olive oil or canola oil
  • 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 heaped teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 5 green cardamom pods , crushed and husks removed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger , peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic , peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 medium white onion , peeled and finely sliced
  • 2-3 fresh red chillies , deseeded and finely sliced
  • 2 heaped teaspoons turmeric
  • 400 ml light coconut milk
  • 2 lemons , juice of
  • 1 good bunch fresh coriander , leaves picked
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and add the fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, onion and chilli.
  2. Fry on a medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly golden, then add the turmeric, a splash of olive oil and the brown crabmeat.
  3. After a minute or so, pour in the coconut milk and a tinful of water.
  4. Let it simmer away for 5 minutes so all the flavours develop.
  5. Then add the lemon juice and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the sauce resembles double cream in consistency.
  6. Just before you stir in the white crabmeat, check that all the shell has been picked out, then add half the coriander, simmer for 4 more minutes and taste. Season carefully with salt and pepper and a little more lemon juice if you think it needs it. Serve with some fluffy white rice, sprinkled with the rest of the coriander leaves.

Watch this video on how to clean your crab

Eating a crab curry is, apart from working on an oil rig, one of the most messiest activities known to humankind. South Africa’s Pravasan Pillay has perfectly summed up the art of crab-curry indulgence in SIX very relatable points.

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