Goan Crab Curry


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

This post was originally published on January 9, 2017

We just wrapped up one major storm last weekend! Sadly, this tree that I’ve always wanted to see fell. Both Snoopy and Vesper Lynx don’t like to get wet but they sure do love sitting by the window and watch everyone else on the road get drenched. Now,  I’m off to NYC this week for a quick trip to the James Beard Foundation for a summit but I hope to also try a couple of new spots in the city. If you have any recommendations, share them below, please!. I’ve also been meaning to share these photos from our farm in Virginia but haven’t had a chance to get them sorted out until now. I bet last week must have been lovely with all the snow and frost covered mountains of the Appalachian range.

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Goan Crab Curry

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This is my mom’s crab curry, which she made when she visited us in Oakland. It’s best eaten steaming hot with plain steamed rice or bread and the kachumbar salad.

  • Yield: 4


4 medium crabs 

fine sea salt

1/2 cup/40 g fresh or frozen grated unsweetened coconut (See Notes)

4 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

1 medium/about 300 g diced onion

6 whole Kashmiri chilies

6 to 7 curry leaves

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 Tbsp coriander

1 1/2  tsp ground turmeric

1 in/2.5 cm piece fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp tamarind paste concentrate

1 cup/240 ml tap water

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Clean crabs with a stiff-bristled brush under running water. Fill a large stockpot with enough water to cover the crabs. Bring it to a boil and add a teaspoon of salt. Add the crabs and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the crabs and drain the water.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp of ghee over medium-high heat in a medium Dutch oven or stockpot. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the onions to a blender.
  3.  Add all the ingredients from the Kashmiri chillies to the tamarind in a blender. Add 1/2 cup/120 ml water. Pulse over high speed until it turns into a smooth paste. Add a Tbsp or two of water if needed.
  4. Heat the remaining ghee in the Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Transfer the contents of the blender and cook until the mixture starts to thicken and the fat separates from the mixture, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching.
  5.  Fold in the crabs, remaining water, and 1/2 tsp salt. If you want the curry thinner, add more water. Stir to coat the crabs, and bring to a boil over low heat, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. Remove from the stove, garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve hot. Leftovers can be stored for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


  • You can use Dungeness (which is what was used in this recipe), Maryland Blue crabs, but avoid softshell crabs in this recipe.
  • You can buy fresh, unsweetened grated coconut or grate it yourself in a blender. Alternatively, you can find frozen bags of grated coconut in Asian/Indian markets.

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