A sure favourite recipe to warm up the winter evenings – South-Indian Style Crab Curry


For the Curry:
1.4 kg crab pieces (frozen is fine, they’re almost impossible to find fresh)
3 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
150g onions, sliced finely
2 green chillis, slit lengthwise
8 medium cloves garlic, sliced into eighths
2 tsp ginger & garlic paste
½ tsp turmeric
4 tsp medium-hot masala/curry powder
2 x 410g chopped fresh or canned tomato, blended till smooth
2 tsp palm or brown sugar
125ml water
3 Tbsp tamarind, soaked in 60ml hot water or 2 T tamarind paste
200ml coconut milk (optional)
12 curry leaves
Salt, to taste
Juice ½ a small lime
Fresh coriander to serve

For the Pineapple Salsa:
Handful pineapple
Handful cucumber
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp chopped or grated fresh ginger
juice of 1 lime
1 small green chilli, de-seeded (optional).

How to
I always use crab pieces, so there is no preparation involved, apart from leaving them in the fridge, covered overnight or for half a day, to thaw.

Heat a wide, heavy based pot on medium-high and add the oil. Once hot, add the fenugreek seeds and cinnamon and fry for a few seconds.

Add the onions and fry till translucent. Turn the heat down if they start to brown. Add the green chillis and half the curry leaves and stir. Add the turmeric and masala and stir briskly, as you don’t want the spices to burn. Fry for 5-10 seconds, stirring and ensure heat is low. Add the garlic slivers and ginger and garlic paste, and stir.

Add the tomatoes and sugar, and turn up the heat to medium-high. The mixture will come to the boil.

After 1-2 minutes, turn down the heat to medium, add the tamarind water (remove the stones), remaining curry leaves and water.

Mix well and cook for a further 5-6 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, if using and stir. Add salt, to taste.

Add the crab, bring pot to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, turning pieces over gently, so they all cook evenly.

Turn down heat, add lime juice and adjust seasoning.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with, lime wedges, basmati rice and plenty of paper serviettes. (Cloth napkins stain and never wash out – a lesson I’ve learned the hard way) The best result is achieved if you prepare this curry in advance, perferably the night before.

For the Pineapple Salsa:
Finely chop about a handful each of pineapple and cucumber.

Add 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander, 1 tsp chopped or grated fresh ginger, juice of 1 lime, 1 small green chilli, de-seeded (optional).

Season to taste and serve on the side with the curry.

Recipe provided by Sarah Graham, recipe creator and cookbook author. Visit the Sarah Graham food blog to see more, and keep turned for her latest cookbook out in April 2017.

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