Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Njandu Varutharachathu or Kerala Style Crab curry - Obviuosly with oodles of coconut oil and coconut

Whenever I eat crab, I just get reminded of one thing which my mom always says. "Njandu curry ondankil, randu curry venda!!"(means if there is crab curry, you neednot have another curry). And I often I related that statement of my mother as her laziness to cook more dishes the day crab was cooked.

As a kid, I never adored it as it was so difficult to eat them. The art of eating crab is something that one learns through years of practice. The day I learnt to eat them, I started enjoying it. To be frank, it is so difficult to eat crab minding your table manners. The day this thought struck my mind, things bacame easier!! And from then on I made it a point not to eat crab at a restuarants(unless and until its some preparation using the crab meat and doesn't involve the shell)!! Not having tasted many preparations with crab, I always tend to love the good old Kerala preparation, which my mother, aunts, mother in law and hubby makes!! This version comes from my hubby who is an expert in making sea food!!


To cook:
  • 1/2 Kg - Crab, cleaned and cut
  • 1" piece - Ginger
  • 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 1 tsp - Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 - Raw banana or 1 potato, cubed (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water to cook

To roast and grind:

  • A ittle more than 1/2 cup of lightly packed finely grated fresh Coconut
  • 4 - cloves
  • 1" piece - Cinnamon
  • 1 small pod of cardamom
  • 1 tsp - Black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves - Garlic
  • 2 tsp - Coriander powder
  • 2 tsp - Chilly powder
  • A generous pinch - Fennel seeds or perinjeerakam
  • 1 tsp - Coconut Oil

For Tempering:(Optional)

  • 1 tsp - Mustard seeds
  • 2-3 - Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig - Curry leaf
  • 1 tbsp - Coconut Oil


  • Clean the crab and cut the major part into two. The legs need to be crushed a bit. You can ideally just give a light crush with a pestle until you see cracks on the shell. This is done so that the spices and salt gets into the juicy flesh.
  • Now, in a pan, put all the ingredients in the 'To cook' section and pour required water and bring it to a boil and simmer and cook till the crab turns orange in color. If excessive water, turn the flame to medium high and evaporate it till the level you desire. We like a little thick gravy thus not much of water was retained.
  • Meanwhile, in a pan, pour the coconut oil and roast all the ingredients leaving the chilly and coriander powder. When the coconut turns nice and brown, add the coriander and chilly powder and stir continuously till the raw smell is gone. Make sure the mixture doesnt get burnt, for which you need to keep the flame medium low and keep stirring continously. Let it cool and grind it with very little water to a fine paste. The finer the paste, the better the curry's texture gets
  • Once done empty the masala paste into the cooked crab and mix well. If water is required add water according to your wish. Let the crab simmer in this masala for 10 minutes till all the aroma gets into the crab.
  • In a pan, pour 1 tbsp of oil and put in the mustard, shallots and curry leaf and pour on top of the curry. Close the lid and let it stand for 10 minutes and serve with Rice. Tempering is not a must do. I generally skip it as I cannot simply wait to have it. And yet another reason being less oil too


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Mishmash ! said...

Can I come over for lunch.....pls? :)

it's one of my favs....and my weakness love love anything with crab :)

Divz said...

u r always welcome home shn!!
i know crabs r too good!!

Lekshmi said...

Divz, I tried out this recipe last week..., it was my first experiment in making crab and it turned out to be sooooooooo good and yummy. Thanks for the recipe from both me and my husband!! :-))

Divz said...

thanks a ton lekshmi for trying out my recipe...happy that it turned out good..

Asha Jennifer said...

I just tried out this recipe and it has turned out SO well.....

Bombay Boomerang said...

Thanks for the recipe I tried it out yesterday. Tho I added some tamarinf and sun-dried tomatoes to it. Doe sthis recipe have nothing sour?