Categorized |Fish

Curry crab without dumplings.

trinidad curry crabThe traditional dish is Curry Crab with Dumplings when visiting Tobago, the sister island of Trinidad. However I’m a bit too lazy today to make dumplings, but I promise to post a recipe soon enough. It was about 3 years ago  we were in Tobago for a few days when at Store Bay getting ready to board a boat to go snorkeling, my sister got me some curry crab and dumplings to try. I must admit that it was a bad experience. Maybe it was the heat and the heavy dish or the curry was overdone, but it was not the same as I remembered as a young fella on the islands. There wasn’t that rich creamy, spicy.. lick your fingers taste that I grew up on.

Here’s a simple version of this famous dish on the sister island. I opted not to cook the curry as it would normally be done (instead I seasoned the crab with the curry… a bit milder taste) and the crab I’m using is what I could find here at the local Asian market. At least it was fresh. Normally we use the big fat blue crabs that’s found in the mangrove swamps on the islands.

You’ll need…

2 lbs crab cleaned and cut into pieces.
1 can coconut milk (165 ml / 5.6 fl oz)
1/2 med onion sliced
1/2 large tomato diced
1/4 habanero pepper – optional (use your fav hot pepper)
1 1/2 table spoon madras curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 scallion sliced
1 cup water
1 lime or lemon for washing the crab
1 tablespoon green seasoning
1/4 teaspoon geera (cumin)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Note: If you don’t have the green seasoning mixture, combine 1 tablespoon each of (chopped fine) – shado beni or cilantro, thyme, shallot, celery and Spanish type or oregano.

Let’s start by washing the pieces of crab (I cut each crab into 4 pieces) by using the juice of the lime and water (not the water mentioned in the recipe), then drain. I would highly recommend that you get the people at your fish market to remove the back and cut the crab for you as this can be a bit tricky when they’re trying to claw you. I love watching our daughters squirm as I take the crabs apart so I opted to do this step myself.

curry crab

cooking curry crab

Now using all the ingredients mentioned above, except the oil, water and coconut milk, season the crab and allow to marinate for a couple hrs in the fridge.

recipe curry crab

seasonings curry crab

tobago curry crab

Remove from the fridge about 15 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature. In a saucepan heat the oil on high, then try to get some of the onions, garlic, pepper and tomato from the bowl with the seasoned crab and cook it a bit in the hot oil. If you can get some of the curry liquid at the bottom of the bowl, add that as well. Allow this to cook for a few minutes, then add the whole lot of seasoned crab to the pot. Stir to coat all the pieces of crab with the curry sauce, bring to a boil, then cover the sauce pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.

how to cook curry crab

curry crab recipe

Allow this to cook for about 5 minutes, then raise the heat back to high to burn off all the liquid. After which, add the cup of water and bring back to a simmer. This should cook for another 5 minutes or so.simple curry crab recipe

curry crab and dumplins

Now add the coconut milk and again on a gentle simmer allow this to cook until the sauce is thick (covered sauce pan). Usually about 8 minutes. The coconut milk will make the curry very mild, so if you wish you can avoid the coconut milk and use more water for a stronger curry flavour. At the end you can top with some chopped cilantro for an extra punch of freshness.

spicy curry crab recipe

trini curry crab

Here’s a pic I took while visiting the San Fernando market of the blue crabs that’s traditionally used for curry crabs and dumplings. It’s claws are tied with the leaves of the coconut tree to prevent them from biting the customers.


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43 Responses to “Curry crab without dumplings.”

  1. Debbie says:

    I live in Trinidad and Tobago. I often see people season their goat,duck and in this instance crab using the raw curry powder. Curry being a raw product needs to be cooked for a certain amount of time before you add your vegs. or meat to it. This is how my Grand mother taught me and on the cooking channels in India they do it the same. you mix the curry powder with a little water to form a loose paste,you can add grated garlic and chadon beni to this,once the oil is hot you add this mixture and gently cook until looks grainy,then you add your vegs. or meat, and turn until coated,you add your coconut milk after the crab looks pink, make sure the water you dissolve the milk is warm so as not to lower the temperature,give it a good turn in the pot cover and let simmer,as the water is absorbed you keep turning your crab to get them all coated with this rich sauce till it’s done. Raw curry can irritate some people stomachs.and because it all into the raw crabs not every grain get cooks the same. Hope you try this method and tell me the difference. Debs

  2. chris says:

    in Trinidad we make crab and dumpling with the hairy mangrove crab and make dumpling with grated cassava and wheat flour . the mangrove crab is more tasty than the blue sea crab

  3. Pat says:

    This recipe is awesome.
    Love the flavour. Keep trucking my friend.


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