This recipe is very close to my heart. It’s something that connects me to my traditions and my time with my Aaji (maternal grandmother). I always talked about this recipe with my daughter, who is a fish lover especially crabs. If you ask her what would she like as a reward for doing well on her test or any activity? The answer since 5 yrs until today is crab curry.
There are so many versions of crab curry which I make but I never made this. I always talk to my daughter about my Aaji’s stuffed crab curry she will make for me. Then, she asked how come you have never made this curry for me?
Answer to my daughters question – This curry is really time consuming, so my mom, my aunts never bother to make it. Because they never made it they never even bothered to document the recipe.
As per my daughters request, I decided to make the stuffed crab curry. It was an endless telephone conversation with my mom and from my mom to my aunts. Each of us came with our own version of a vague recipe with the help of our memory and taste buds.
Then, the process of testing the recipe began until it felt right on the tongue and took me in my Aaji’s arms.
One of the versions of the recipe was to use thelipeth flour instead of besan, roast the besan and the paste together, to make a thick dough for filling…..
Finally, I chose this recipe because it felt right. Traditionally, this recipe calls for a variety of crab called Mothie, which are square in shape and light brown in color. But, regular small crabs works well too.
I have used regular crabs for the recipe here. I will recommend to use female crabs instead of male. When the eggs from female crabs are mixed with the filling it imparts an exceptional taste to the curry too.
If you don’t have a dip dish or plate to cover the pot to hold enough water in. You can microwave or boil water over the stove and add to the crabs. Don’t add cold water.
These curry taste best with plain rice or rice bhakari.
If you don’t have Aagri/ koli masala handy:
- 1 1/2 tbsp red chilies powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
You will need:
- 6 crabs
- 2 tbsp coconut paste
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic
- 1 shallot chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp Agari/ koli masala
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2-3 kokum
- Salt as per taste
- Coriander for garnish
- 1/2 cups besan/ chickpeas flour
- 1 tbsp rice flour
- 2 tbsp coconut paste
- 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp Agari/koli masala or red chili powder
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh coconut
- 1/4 cup dry coconut
- 1 small shallot (chopped)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/4 cup water for grinding
To make the masala paste:
In a pan, add oil and roast the onions until they are golden brown. To the same pan, add coconut and roast every thing until it is dark brown in color. Cool completely and grind to smooth paste. Add few tablespoons of water at a time. This recipe calls for 3 tbsp of paste. You can store the paste in a freezer for up to 3 months and can use it in any other subzi or non- veg recipes.
I will add a link on how to clean the crabs here: please reserve the shells for filling.
Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Cleaning time: 20 minutes
- Clean the crabs, reserve the shells for filling. Grind small legs of the crab with 1/2 cup of water. Strain through a sieve and reserve the stock for later.
- For the filling: roast chickpeas flour until it loses its raw smell. About 5-6 minutes. Flour doesn’t have to change its color. Set it aside to cool.
- In the same pan, roast rice flour for few minutes, add to chickpeas flour and let cool completely.
- Add all the ingredients listed under filling section to the flour and make it into a soft paste. Add water gradually, starting with 1/4 cup. The paste should not be too runny or thick.
- Fill the paste in the prepared crab shells, place the shell back on the base of the crab and tie them with twine.
- If you are left with the excess paste after filling the crabs, keep it aside to thicken the gravy at the end.
- In a large pan, add oil. Once the oil is hot, add crushed garlic and cook until it’s light brown in color. Add chopped shallot and cook until golden brown.
- Add turmeric and Agari masala. Place the tied crab in the pot. Cover with a deep plate and add a 2 cups of water to the plate.
- After 5 minutes you will see steam in the plate with water. Carefully add the water to the pot. Fill the plate with 2 cups of water again and cover the pot.
- After 5-6 minutes, you will see that the crabs have changed color, they are no more grey. If you prefer more gravy, add the water from the plate to the pot. Add the reserved stock, kokkum, and the paste left from filling to thicken the gravy. Add 2 tbsp of coconut paste too.
- Add salt as per taste and garnish with cilantro.