Curry Crab and Dumplings is one of the most iconic dishes on our sister island of Tobago. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of hitting the beach at Store Bay (where you also catch the glass bottom boats to Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool), you’ve surely walked pass many of the food vendors selling this classic curry dish. While I’ve shared this recipe before, I was asked via Instagram to share a simplified version that’s easy to prepare and just as tasty as the classic I shared about 4 years ago.
3 lbs crab
3 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (geera)
2-3 tablespoon veg oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 cloves garlic
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 heaping table spoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 small onion
2 pimento peppers (called seasoning peppers)
5 Bird Pepper (bird’s eye – or any pepper you have/like)
Important: If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Especially the curry powder, as it may contain flour as a filler.
Place you washed/cleaned crab (cut in 1/4’s) into a large bowl and season with the salt, black pepper and Caribbean Green Seasoning. Stir well and get ready to cook, as we don’t really need this to marinate. If the crab you’re using has big claws, I’d recommend giving them a crack to help the seasoning and curry get in to add extra flavor.
Dice the seasoning pepper, garlic and onion. Now add the vegetable oil to a wide heavy pan on medium heat. Go in with the onion and garlic and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the ‘seasoning’ peppers (don’t worry if you can’t source them) and continue cooking on low heat for another minute or two.
With the heat still on low go in with the cumin seeds (toss around), then the curry powder (your fav.. I used a Madras blend out of the Caribbean). This step will toast the curry powder and bring out that curry goodness we’re looking for. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, then add the bird peppers WHOLE (don’t break) and allow them to warm though for a minute.
Now it’s time to turn the heat to med/high and start adding the seasoned crab pieces. Stir well to de-glaze the pan and to coat the crab pieces with the curry base we created.
It’s now time to add the coconut milk and bring it up to a boil (lid on). Then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow it to cook for about 8-10 minutes. If you notice that the gravy is too thick or burning away too fast, add 1/2 – 3/4 cup water (not mentioned in the list of ingredients).
Taste for salt and adjust accordingly and please try your best to not break the peppers, unless you want it as spicy as it’s usually served in Tobago. As you turn off the stove, top with the chopped cilantro (Shado Beni would be normally used).
The classic curry crab is usually served with flour or cassava dumplings, but you can enjoy this with ground provisions (yams, dasheen, eddoes, cassava.. even boiled green bananas), roti, rice or as a side to any starch you like.