Crab in spicy gravy

Hello everybody !! Its Friday !! Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Today I am going to share with you a very special recipe which you can prepare for any festival / party to give a unique twist to your menu. Surprise your guests this weekend with this spicy crab preparation and let me know in the comment section what compliments you got 🙂

Though this preparation is a little complex and time consuming, but as I mentioned this is not an everyday meal. Your special recipe definitely deserves some extra effort, but the end result is a superb looking delicious dish.

Lets get started !!


Preparation Time : 15 to 20 minutes

Cleaning the Crab :

I am using 3 male crabs for my recipe. You may use female crabs also if you prefer.


Hold the crab in such a way that you see the bottom part and hold the top shell in your left hand. Remove the “apron” which is a triangular shell at the bottom part. You can simply pull it off.

Keep holding the top shell of the crab in your left hand and grab the body in your right hand. You can see a hole where you pulled off the apron. Insert thumb of your right hand into the hole and gently pull to separate the carapace (top shell). You may find some dirty liquid coming out. Let all the liquid drain out.

You will also see a semi -solid (sometimes yellowish) substance coming out in the above step. That is the crab butter. You may clean and keep it separately to use in soup / stock. But I do not use it, so I have removed the butter completely.

Next remove the mandible which will look like the mouth of the crab. Simple press and break off gently.

Remove the gills from both sides. Separate the legs from the body. (If you want to cook the crab whole, do not separate the legs, it is not mandatory.)

Clean everything well under running water.

You can gently break the body from the middle part into 2. Do not separate them completely, just give a gentle snap. Also using a small flat top hammer make crack on the knuckles and hard shell of the legs so that the spices go inside the crab flesh. Also it will be easier to break the shell and reach the flesh while eating if you leave a nice crack. (Carefully use the hammer, do not make too many cracks else parts of the shell may mix into the gravy)

This is how my crabs look after I have cleaned and separated them. They are ready for marination.



Marinating the crab :

Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, 1 tablespoon black pepper powder and few pinches of salt. Coat the crab bodies well, try to go as much inside as you can without breaking them. Also try to insert as much marination spices into the cracks of the legs as possible. (Do not apply too much pressure.)

It is good to marinate the crabs at least an hour before you start cooking. But if you are in a hurry, you may cook them few minutes after marination.

Cooking Time : 20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • Crabs – 3, cleaned and marinated. I used male crabs, you can use any crab of your choice. (You may separate the legs as I did / keep them intact.)

For roasted spice paste :

  • Onions -1 small, chopped into small pieces
  • Garlic  – 4 cloves, roughly chopped
  • Ginger – 3 inch, roughly chopped
  • Cashew nut – 4 to 5
  • Dry red chilli – 2, roughly broken
  • Yellow mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Whole cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Whole black pepper – 4
  • Cloves – 4
  • Green cardamom – 6, only use the seeds
  • Cinnamon sticks – 4 small
  • Refined / Olive oil – 1 and 1/2 tablespoon

For gravy :

  • Onion – 1 medium, chopped into long thin slices
  • Garlic – 4 cloves, finely chopped
  • Ginger – 2 inch, chopped as julienne
  • Tomato – 1 large, finely chopped (You can also use tomato puree)
  • Dry Bay leaf – 1
  • Fresh Coriander leaves – 4 tablespoon, finely chopped
  • Green Chillies – 3, slitted into long thin slices
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Sugar – a pinch
  • Refined / Olive oil – 4 to 6 tablespoon
  • Lemon Juice – 1 tablespoon


Recipe :

  1. First we will prepare the roasted spice. For this take a frying pan. Brush 1 to 1 and 1/2 tablespoon oil all over the pan. Let the oil heat up.
  2. Now add mustard seeds, cumin sees, dry red chillies, whole black pepper, cloves, cardamom seeds and cinnamon sticks into the oil.
  3. When the whole spices starts crackling, add chopped onions, garlic, ginger and salt. Mix and stir.
  4. When the onions turn translucent, add cashew nuts. Mix everything again and keep stir frying them until the onions turn golden brown.
  5. Once everything is done, take everything out in a mortar & pestle. Grind everything until you get a smooth paste of roasted spices.
  6. If you were using a deep bottom frying pan for the above steps, you can continue using the same. If not you may use a wok for the rest of the recipe.
  7. Heat 4 to 6 tablespoon oil in a wok / deep bottom frying pan.
  8. When the oil heats up, add dry bay leaf and sugar. Wait for few seconds.
  9. Now add onions. Stir fry them until they turn translucent.
  10. Add ginger and garlic. Mix and stir for 1 minute.
  11. Next add tomatoes. Add few pinches of salt. Mix and keep stirring until the tomatoes become soft.
  12. Add turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Mix well.
  13. Next add the roasted spices paste you prepared in step 5. Mix everything well. Turn the flame to medium. Add the crab bodies and legs. Stir and mix everything so that the crabs are well coated with the spices. Add salt if required.
  14. Wait until the spices start releasing oil. Now add 2 cups of warm water. Cover the pan / wok with a lid. Let everything cook in medium flame. Turn the crab bodies in between so that all sides get cooked evenly.
  15. When the gravy thickens up and the crab gets boiled, remove the lid and increase the flame. Add coriander leaves and black pepper powder. (If you have lemon juice left after marination, you may add that as well.) Mix well.
  16. Wait until the gravy starts sticking to the crabs. Once you are happy with the consistency of the gravy turn the flame off.
  17. Place the crab bodies on a serving plate. Pour the gravy all over it. Place the legs as you desire. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and green chillies.

Serve Crab in spicy gravy hot with any fried rice of your choice.




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