Crab curries

Vegetarian readers of this blog can ignore my posts this weekend as I will be sharing some non-vegetarian recipes of my grandmother, as remembered by my mother from her teen years.

Being an island, seafood has played a major role in Sri Lanka’s cuisine. The way it is cooked differs in each coastal district around the country. Today, I will share two recipes of crab curries, from Jaffna, without any photos as the last time crab was cooked at home was when I was around 5 years old.

(a) Crab meat curry

Time taken: 30 mins

Serves 4


  • Crab – 2
  • Onion – 1, chopped
  • Ginger – 1 tsp, chopped
  • Garlic – 1 tsp, chopped
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Curry powder – 1 tbsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Chop up the crabmeat of 2 crabs into about 8 pieces. You can either buy crabmeat already extracted from its shell, if available at your local stores, or you can clean and extract it yourself. Separate the rest of the crab parts from the main shell and reserve for the crab scraps gravy.
  2. Add some salt to the chopped up crab meat and keep aside.
  3. Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the chopped onions with 1 tbsp of fenugreek seeds and the curry leaves. Add the chopped ginger and garlic and fry for a few minutes till you get the aroma of tempering.
  4. Add the chopped up crab meat to the pan and mix well.
  5. After frying the crabmeat for about 5 minutes, add the coconut milk and the curry powder.
  6. Cook the crabmeat curry on low heat for around 15 mins till the liquid almost dries up.
  7. Serve crabmeat curry with stringhoppers, hoppers or pittu.

(b) Crab scraps gravy

Time taken: 30 mins

Serves 4


  • Crab parts from 2 crabs, excluding the main shell and content
  • Onion – ½, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Fenugreek – 1 tbsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Coconut milk – 1 ½ cups
  • Curry powder – 1 ½ tbsp


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the chopped onions, curry leaves and the fenugreek seeds.
  2. Add the cleaned crab scraps that were reserved when cutting up the crab for the crabmeat curry and fry for some minutes.
  3. Add ½ cup of tamarind juice and let the mixture simmer for 2 mins before adding 1 ½ cups of coconut milk and 1 ½ tbsp of curry powder.
  4. Cook the crab feet gravy on low heat for about 10 – 15 mins. Take care to remove from heat before the gravy before it starts drying up.
  5. Serve the crab scraps gravy with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.


6 thoughts on “Crab curries

      • this one looks a little similar although for crab curry my mom did not add coconut milk. For all other fish curries we use coconut milk and kodampuli which is a special kind of sour fruit used in fish curries in Kerala. I would so love to visit Sri Lanka sometime! 🙂

      • Is kodampuli the same as goraka? there is a specialty fish dish from Matara district (south coast of Sri Lanka) called Malu Ambulthiyal (I included the recipe for it on the blog) which uses this sour fruit.
        Hope you do visit Sri Lanka someday and it would be lovely to meet up with you, Indu! 🙂

      • Yes, I checked your glossary and I think it looks the same. When you do visit the country, Indu, please try out Malu Ambulthiyal in the south. I think you will enjoy it.

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