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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39 Responses to “Curry crab without dumplings.”

  1. nikki says:

    Can you plzz show me how to make boiled and fried dumplings …..I love your tutorials

  2. Shawn DeCosta says:

    hi Chris, I’m from Guyana but residing in Houston, TX. You are doing a wonderful thing here with your recipes, I absolutely love it!!!!! keep up the good work. I espceially love the pics, nice touch…nothing like a visual!!!!!!

  3. Shelly says:

    Looks sooo..good!!!!!!!

  4. Krishna says:

    Hi Chris,
    One of the things I do is use fresh ginger as an additional ingredient. For the amount of crabs in the recipe a thumb sized piece will be sufficient. I julienne it and then chop it up real fine. I add it to the hot oil and sautee for a few minutes to infuse the flavor then add the the onions, garlic and tomato and continue with the rest of the process. It gives the final result an additional burst of flavor.

  5. Webbs Lebrun says:

    Wow Chef, you did it again I have to try that dish this weekend. keep up the good work.


  6. Tarsh downunder says:

    hmmm looks awesome, i too love seafood. love all your recipes kep it coming Chris my bro:)

  7. Mervene says:

    love curry crab, Chris are you familiar with the hairy crab that was my favorite (curry )with cassava dumplings My mom( Indian God rest her soul) she even curry what they called chitterlings here Oh my goodness loved her curry whatever she curried was the best

  8. Angela says:

    I'm from Jamaica and my husband is Trini. I tried this recipe and it was fabulous!! Thanks :)

  9. dee says:

    Love it reminds me of the crabmarket in surinam . We ea sweett it wit rice. And we add potato or sweet potato to it. Funny how we have similaar food in the americas

  10. Zora says:

    Hi Chris, Thank you for the lovely recipes…I am originally from Guyana but living in the UK for nearly 40 years…love your crab and spinach it was delicious…next thing I am going to try is the Karela yummi …will let you know when I do cook it as it seems only I would enjoy it something I loved when we were living in Guyana…Thank you so much….Zora

  11. Kimberly says:

    I have been wanting to try this recipe for long and am finally trying it tomorrow! Whale soft-shell crabs on sale at local seafood market, soo excited! Thank you!

  12. Divina says:

    You’re the boss Chris! Mud Crab curry for lunch here today in OZ. Thanks so much for your recipes. We live by them here!

  13. Celia says:

    Hi Chris! This crab looks amazing. I will try it,because I love seafoods. Thank you.

  14. warner says:

    Hi Chris, just saw your curry crab, well i am not from Tobago, but where i am from we use to cook up this quit often since we live right by the sea and to catch all we needed was a piece of tree bark and a piece of meat, and before you know it we had our self a bucket of crab. thanks for the memory, those were the good old. this week-end i will be cooking this crab and dumpling

  15. lafleure says:

    hey Chris that crab looking finger licking good, i am so moving into your house, hope you have extra space, waiting for the dumplins


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