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Kerala Crab Curry

 Published 2008-Nov-04   Updated 2021-Aug-16

- Submitted by Eliza

(Nandu Kulambu, South Indian Style Crab Curry)

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This Kerala style spicy crab curry is made with roaste coconut, peppercorns, garlic, cumin and chillies. It is one of the common ways of making crab in the South, Kerala and parts of Tamilnadu too. It uses tamarind which gives that sourness along with the spiciness. The addition of black pepper gives that additional punch to the gravy. This tasty and spicy nandu curry goes well with plain rice.

There are many other ways in which crab curry is made in the South which I will be sharing one by one. On a cold or rainy day, spicy crab curry with some white rice tastes excellent. It is also recommended for people suffering from common cold. Rasam along with this makes the meal complete. I like to prepare crab curry on weekends for lunch so that I can peacefully sit and break open the crab shells. I am sure you will be licking your fingers at the end. So here is the recipe.

Recipe for Crab Curry

Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4 people


  • Crab - 1 lb (½ kg)
  • Tamarind juice - ¼ cup (extracted from marble sized tamarind)
  • Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
  • Red chili powder - 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder- 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Green chili - 1
  • Mustard seeds (Black) - ¼ tsp
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds - ¼ tsp
  • Asafoetida powder - ¼ tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Cilantro - for garnish

For Masala

  • Coconut (grated) - 3 tbsp
  • Pearl Onions - 4
  • Garlic Cloves - 8 
  • Curry leaves - 4 leaves
  • Dry red Chilies - 2
  • Peppercorns - 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp


  1. Clean the crab, cut it into small pieces and keep aside.
  2. Take a skillet and heat some oil in it. Now fry all the ingredients from 'For Masala'.
  3. Once the aroma starts coming, remove it from fire and let it cool. After it cools, grind everything together with some water to form a very fine paste and keep aside.
  4. Now take a clay pot or deep vessel, heat some oil, splutter mustard, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
  5. Now add the tamarind juice, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt, asafoetida along with the ground masala and bring it to a boil. Add water if you want more gravy.
  6. Add the crab pieces, cover and cook for 10 minutes on low-medium flame. The crab is done when it turns red in color.
  7. Add some fresh curry leaves, cilantro and split green chili on top. Swith off and keep it covered. Serve hot.


  • If you want a thick gravy, do not add extra water. Keep the flame on medium high and let the gravy cook till most of the water evaporates.

Serving Crab Curry

  • This goes well with white rice and rasam.
  • I also personally enjoy it with kal dosa.

More Crab Recipes

Crab Kurma Crab Kurma Crab Fry Nandu Varuval (Crab Fry)    
See more ⟩⟩

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Comments (7)

Person   ()
Hi - this looks great - can you confirm the mustard is seeds? If so are black or yellow best? Thanks and great to see more crab recipies
Person   ()
Hi Niki, Yes its mustard seeds. In India, we mostly use black mustard seeds.
Person   ()
nandu kozhampu rompa yummya irukku.idha parthu naan pannen
Person   ()
Thanks Jushma!!!
Person   ()
Very very delicious....can't stop having it....thank you for your recipe
Person   ()
Kerala Crab Curry. yummy
Person   ()

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 Published by on and last updated on 2021-08-16.