Jaffna crab curry recipe
- Cuisine: Sri Lankan
- Prep Time: 15 min(s)
- Cook Time: 35 min(s)
- Serves 4
Jaffna cuisine is renowned for its use of the fresh seafood readily available along the coast and the region is famous for crab curries. Prepare to get your hands dirty with this recipe!
Ingredients2 x 1.2kg live mud crabs
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
½ cup grated fresh coconut (see note)
1 tsp black mustard seeds (see note)
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 red onion, quartered, sliced
10 curry leaves
3 long green chillies, finely chopped
1 tbs Jaffna curry powder (see note)
2 tsp ground chilli
¼ tsp ground turmeric
400ml (1⅔ cups) coconut milk
1 tbs seedless tamarind purée (see note)
1 sprig murunga (drumstick), leaves picked (see note)
½ lime, juiced
Steamed rice (optional), to serve
PreparationLevel of difficulty: confident cook
Place cumin seeds and peppercorns in a large frying pan over high heat. Cook for 2 minutes or until toasted. Transfer to a mortar, wipe pan clean with paper towel and return pan to high heat. Add grated coconut and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until golden, then add to cumin seed mixture with 1 tbs water. Grind to a smooth paste with a pestle and set aside. Alternatively, process in a small food processor to a paste.
Heat ghee in a large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat, add mustard seeds and cook for 30 seconds or until seeds pop. Add fennel seeds and cook for a further minute or until fennel seeds start to brown. Add onion, curry leaves and chillies, and cook for 4 minutes or until onion is browned. Add curry powder, ground chilli and turmeric, and stir to combine. Add crab and reserved crab shells, and cook, stirring constantly so the spices don’t burn, for 3 minutes or until crab starts to change colour.
Combine spiced coconut paste, coconut milk, tamarind purée and 500ml (2 cups) water in a bowl. Add to crab mixture and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, tossing crab halfway, for 12 minutes or until crab is just cooked. Increase heat to medium, remove lid and simmer for 4 minutes or until liquid is slightly thickened. Season with salt and stir in murunga leaves and lime juice.
Divide crab among bowls and spoon over some curry sauce. Serve with rice, if desired, and remaining curry sauce.
Jaffna curry powder and tamarind purée/paste are available from Asian food shops.
Murunga leaves, commonly known as drumstick leaves, are available from Asian grocers. Substitute 2 tbs chopped parsley and an extra squeeze of lime.
Drink 2009 Mantlerhof Gelber ‘Muskateller’.
Sri Lankan Restaurants
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|2.||Blue Elephant||Pennant Hills|
|4.||Annalakshmi on the Swan||Perth|
|7.||Tas Ceylon||Lenah Valley|
|9.||Jazzi's Indian & Continental Restaurant||South Hurstville|
|10.||Flavour of Ceylon||Parramatta|
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