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Crab Curry (Nandu Kuzhambu)

 Published 2022-Jun-13   Updated 2022-Jun-13

- Submitted by Dahlia

(நண்டு குழம்பு, Crab in spicy tamarind sauce)

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Crab Curry or Nandu Kuzhambu in Tamil is a spicy, tangy, delicious crab curry specially prepared in Tamil Nadu, South India. It is served with white rice. It is said that when you have common cold, you have this curry with hot rice and your cold will vanish.  

In Tamilnadu, crab is usually cooked fresh. The crab is caught live and killed just before cooked to retain its freshness. You can find these live crabs in fish markets too. In cities there is no such option but to manage with what you get. This curry is exceptionally tasty so try it out.

Recipe For Crab Curry

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6


  • Crab – ½ kg
  • Onion – 1 (finely chopped)
  • Small Onions - 6
  • Garlic – 10 cloves
  • Green Chilies – 2
  • Tomato – 1
  • Tamarind Extract – ¼ cup
  • Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
  • Red Chili Powder – 2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Peppercorns – 1 tsp
  • Grated Coconut – 3-4 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Curry Leaves – 2 sprigs
  • Oil – 4 tbsp
  • Water – 2 cups


  1. Clean the crab, wash them once and drain excess liquid.
  2. Coarsely grind small onions, green chilies, half the garlic and tomato.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, pop the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
  4. Add finely chopped onions and saute till it turns golden brown.
  5. Now add the ground masala and saute for few minutes.
  6. Also add the dry spices – turmeric powder, red chili powder and coriander powder. Saute till everything comes together and oil starts separating. This will take around 15 minutes.
  7. Add the tamarind extract, required water and salt. Bring to a boil.
  8. When it is boiling, reduce the flame and add the cleaned crab. Cover with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes.
  9. In the meantime, grind together the cumin seeds, remaining garlic, peppercorns, few curry leaves and grated coconut to a smooth paste.
  10. By now the crabs would have got cooked and turned orange in colour. Add this ground paste to the simmering curry.
  11. Simmer for another 5 minutes and switch off. 
  12. Add few fresh curry leaves and let the curry rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Serving Suggestion

  • Server the warm Nandu Kuzhambu with hot white rice or chapatti. 

More Crab Recipes

Crab Kurma Crab Kurma Seafood Medley Curry Seafood Medley Curry Crab Cakes Crab Cakes Crab Fry Nandu Varuval (Crab Fry)
See more ⟩⟩

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 Published by on and last updated on 2022-06-13.