For a curry recipe with a twist, try Anjum Anand's crab curry recipe.


  • 2 x 750g whole crabs, ask your fishmonger to break and clean them for you

  • 7 tbs. vegetable oil

  • 20 fenugreek seeds

  • 8 cloves

  • 20 black peppercorns

  • 15 fresh curry leaves

  • 2 medium-large onions, chopped

  • 3-5 green chilies, whole but pierced with the tip of a knife

  • 4 small-medium tomatoes, quartered

  • 10 large cloves garlic, peeled

  • 15g ginger, peeled weight

  • ¼-1 tsp. chili powder or to taste or crushed red chilies

  • 1 tbs. cumin powder

  • 1 tbs. coriander powder

  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder

  • 100-200ml coconut milk (optional)

  • Salt to taste

  • 1-1½ tsp. tamarind paste or to taste

  • Basmati rice to serve


  • 1.

    Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan or karahi pan. Add the fenugreek, cloves and peppercorns and once the fenugreek seeds have browned, add the curry leaves.

  • 2.

    Add the green chillies and onions and cook until golden brown. Meanwhile, blend together the garlic, tomatoes, ginger and a good splash of water until smooth. Add to the pot along with the salt, chilli, coriander, cumin and turmeric powder. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the masala releases oil into the pan. Then gently stir-fry the paste for a further 5-7 minutes to intensify the flavours.

  • 3.

    Add 800ml water. Bring to a boil. Stir in the tamarind paste and adjust the seasoning. Add the crab and brown meat, bring back to a boil, cover and simmer over a moderate heat until the crab is cooked, around 15 minutes. 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 and serve.


If the whole peppercorn and cloves bother you, you can take strain the sauce and take them out before pouring the rest over the crab. This curry improves over a few hours as the sauce seeps into crab. I buy my crab fresh from my fishmongers who kindly offers to clean and cut it for me. I add about 4-5 tbs. of the brown meat that sits in the main shell of the crab for that extra flavour but you can add more or less.

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