A crab-ulous discovery

Down foodpath - Spicy crab masala
Last Updated 31 December 2019, 11:55 IST

My association with seafood started off when I was around six or seven years old. We were living in Vellore, Tamil Nadu at the time, and the fish market days were on every Wednesdays or Thursdays.

My dad would go to the market early in the morning and bring us the fresh catch of the day. Thanks to the nearby seaside, we were lucky enough to get the freshest of the lot.

Whenever my dad brought home squid, prawns or crab, we would have a feast at home. My mom would always try a different recipe each time.

Crab was my favourite at the time, because we couldn’t get it as often as I would have liked. It’s also a messy affair to eat this and that’s the best part.

That’s also why I would never order a crab dish at restaurants; it’s too messy. You have to be dignified and that just seemed unfair to this glorious dish.

My mom always made spicy crab at home. Though she would make rice or chapati to have with it, we’d all just ignore that and dig into the dish.

One of my favourite memories of a spicy crab masala my mother made about six years ago in Bengaluru. During one of the fish market hauls, my dad brought home fresh crabs. That meant only one thing — feast day!

Everyone was so excited at home that we couldn’t wait. It was about 10 pm by the time mom finished cooking. As usual, we forgot about the accompaniments that she had prepared with it and devoured the crab straight from the pot. By the time we finished eating, we were all craving for an aerated drink. None of the stores, except a bakery right across our house, was open at the time.

The main gate to the house was locked and the caretaker had gone to sleep. Since I didn’t want to wake him up, I remember jumping the wall just to get to the bakery to buy us something to drink.

It’s been many years and I’ve still not been able to have a crab dish that’s made me as happy as it did that day. Hoping 2020 will be the year I can finally cross that off my list.


Fresh crab, 4

Coriander leaves, 5 sprig

Bay leaf, 1

Cinnamon stick, 1

Ginger, 1

Garlic, 4 cloves

Chopped onion, 3 large

Chopped tomato, 2

Kashmiri red chilli powder, 2 tsp

Coriander powder, 1 tbsp

Turmeric powder, 1 tsp

Water, 1/2 cup

Salt to taste

Oil as required


Clean the crab multiple times with fresh water and keep it aside.

Fry two large onions and keep it aside to cool down.

Once cooled, grind the onions with cinnamon, bay leaf, ginger, garlic and coriander leaves. Make into a fine paste.

Take a deep-vessel or wok and heat some oil. Saute the onions till slightly golden.

Add the crab and mix well.

The crab will soon change its colour. Cook it on medium heat for about 8 minutes.

Add turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder, coriander powder and salt. Make sure you coat the crab well with the spices.

Next, add the chopped tomato and 1/2 cup of water.

Cover the lid and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Finally, add the ground masala and cook on low flame.

Leave it on for another 20 minutes.

Crab masala is ready to be served.

(Published 31 December 2019, 11:46 IST)

Follow us on