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Complete Indian Cooking
by Meena Pathak
This is a popular dish from Mumbai, where it is known as adraki kekda. You can use either fresh or frozen crabs - I usually go to the fish market and pick the 'fleshy' or 'meaty' ones. Indian crabs are a greyish-black in colour. Serve hot with rice, poppadums and a raita.
Serves four



    • 4 medium to large uncooked crabs
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
    • 3 onions, chopped
    • 3 teaspoons ginger pulp
    • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 3 green or red chillies, chopped
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 3 teaspoons poppy seeds
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
    • 300 g (11 oz) canned chopped tomatoes
    • 300 ml (1/2 pint) canned coconut milk
    • 1 tablespoon garam masala
    • 1½ teaspoons salt
    • 3 tablespoons ground cashew nuts (optional)


If you are using live crabs, blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes and allow to cool. Remove all the meat from the shells.

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and add the coriander seeds. When they begin to crackle and lightly brown add the onions, ginger, garlic, chillies and bay leaves.

Cook for 5-8 minutes over a medium heat before adding the poppy seeds, half the chopped fresh coriander and the tomatoes. Continue cooking for 10 minutes then add the coconut milk, half the garam masala, the salt and cashew nuts, if using. Cook, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes.

Put the crab flesh in the sauce and cover the pan. Reduce the heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes or until the crab meat is cooked.

Sprinkle with the remaining chopped coriander and garam masala. Turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

    Tip: The sauce can be made 3-4 days in advance and kept in the fridge. Reheat it thoroughly before adding the crab meat.

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