Sushil’s Chilli Crab


Redolent with fragrant spices this is a fabulous special occasion dish for seafood lovers.


1.5kg mud or paddle crab (approx 4 – 5 crabs), cleaned
1 large red onion
2 large tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
1 knob of ginger
3 medium sized fresh red chillies
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves with roots
1 sprig of fresh curry leaves (10 – 15)
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 green cardamom
2 black cardamom
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 dried red chillies
1 star anise
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
½ tsp pepper powder
100ml fish stock
100ml coconut milk
100ml coconut cream
Juice of ½ lime
Few Lemon wedges for garnish
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp salt or as required.


Firstly, make sure the crabs are cleaned well and washed thoroughly in cold water. If you’re unsure how to clean the crab, ask your fish monger and they will do it for you. Set aside.

In a food processor, place the onions, tomatoes, fresh red chillies, 5 curry leaves, garlic cloves, ginger and 1 bunch of coriander roots (save the coriander leaves for later)and grind into a smooth curry paste.

Heat oil in a large frying pan, add bay leaves, dried red chillies, cardamom pods, star anise, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and sauté for a few seconds until the spices releases all its oil, be careful not to burn them.

Now add the curry paste which was made earlier and mix well. Cover the pan and simmer for a few minutes. Remove lid, add the powdered spices, 5 fresh curry leaves, salt and mix. Add the fish stock, cover and let it simmer in a low to medium heat for 10 minutes.

Remove the lid, add the coconut milk and cream and bring the sauce to a boil on a medium heat.

Once the sauce has come to a good consistency, add the crabs to the sauce and mix well until the sauce is coated all over, cover the pan and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the crab is cooked through. Keep turning the pieces over gently, so they all cook evenly. Turn down the heat, add lime juice and adjust seasoning if required.

Garnish with fresh coriander leave, chopped chilli and few lemon wedges. Serve hot with steamed rice or roti.

About Sushil Ravikumar

Sushil Ravikumar is a former Masterchef NZ contestant and enthusiastic fan of MTR Foods products. Sushil's recipes are designed to help unlock the flavours of India for N... View all posts by Sushil Ravikumar

view all posts