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Easy Crab Curry

Spicy Sri Lankan Crab Curry Recipe

Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Sri Lankan


  • 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 inch ginger minced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry powder recipe below
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper increase if you want more spicy
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 - 2 pandan leaves I used dried
  • 2 - 3 green chillies slit into half
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 5 - 6 Crabs Cleaned and chopped
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

For the curry powder

  • 4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 6-7 black pepper corns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds


  • Finely grind all the spices in a spice grinder or mixer and set aside.
  • Grind grated coconut to a smooth paste. Set aside
  • Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a large kadai (I use my longpi pot for this). Add the onion, ginger, garlic and saute until the onions have softened.
  • Now the 1 ½ tbsp of the freshly ground curry powder (of from before if you have), cayenne pepper and grated coconut. Saute for 3-4 minutes till the spices are fragant.
  • Add the tamarind paste, sugar, chilies, curry leaves, pandan leaves and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Bring to a boil.
  • At this point, add salt and crabs. The curry wil be very thick so mix so that it is coating crabs and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the coconut milk, some water to achieve the gravy consistency. Lower the heat, cover and cook till the crabs are fully cooked. This will take about 10 minutes or so.
  • Turn off the gas, add chopped coriander leaves or if you have handy a little drumstick leaves. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.


The ground Sri Lankan curry powder can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about 10 days. It tastes great added in just about anything. I use it in chicken curries or even sprinkled in sabjis.
The drumstick leaves as a garnish is a very interesting thing I haven't seen anywhere else and adds a great flavour to it. So if you have access, do add them for sure.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!