Fisherman’s Crab Curry/ Crab cooked in Coconut Milk/ Kerala Njandu Curry

This is a beautiful, delicious coastal style Crab curry, called as “Fisherman’s Crab Curry”.

True to its seaside orientation, Kerala cuisine is almost primarily made up of seafood, particularly fish and prawn dishes. The people here in Kerala and borderline of Kanyakumari eat seafood multiple times a day pairing it with the coconut which is available in abundance.

This traditional crab curry recipe is made with coconut paste and gets a bit of kick too from the chillies added.

Why this recipe works:

The ingredients used here show a mix of both coconut paste and coconut milk. Its sweet punch is set off deliciously by the spicy crab meat.

To lighten the dish, reduce the thickness of gravy by adding coconut milk. Try serving this curry with plain boiled rice and plenty of gravy.

This crab curry is so good I’ve been making it ever since. Try and let me know how it turned out for you!!

Author: Nathiya Adiseshan

Preparation Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 20 mins

Serves: 3


For the coconut-spice paste

  • 250 gms Crab, cleaned and body cut into halves or quarters
  • 1 cup Coconut, grated
  • 5 Kashmiri Chillies
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • an inch Ginger
  • 8-10 Black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • Tamarind, marble sized

Other ingredients

  • 1 cup Onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 2 Green chillies, slit
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Fennel powder (optional)
  • 3 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp Coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Sprig of Curry leaveseZy Watermark_04-04-2019_10-24-55AM.JPG


  1. Grind the ingredients (mentioned in coconut-paste listed above) into a smooth paste with little water. Keep it aside.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a deep bottomed pan, add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Then add fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
  3. Add in onions and green chillies and fry it till it turns soft and translucent.
  4. Add in the tomatoes and turmeric powder and fry for a minute.
  5. Now add the wet masala paste along with a cup of water and bring it to a boil on medium high heat.
  6. Add the crab. Make sure to turn over the crabs half way so that they are well coated with the gravy.
  7. Add extra coconut milk if you prefer it more creamy, or up to ½ cup of water to dilute the gravy. Add salt to taste.
  8. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the crabs turn pink and are cooked through.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves.IMG_7593_eZy Watermark_04-04-2019_10-16-28AM
  10. Spoon curry over rice and serve hot.IMG_7596_eZy Watermark_04-04-2019_10-16-31AM

Special Note:

  • Cut the crab bodies into halves or quarters with a cleaver. Crush gently the crab legs for the flavours to soak into the curry.
  • I have used blue swimmer crabs for this curry, but any sort of crab (Dungeness and snow crab) will work.
  • If you’re using dessicated coconut, add warm water while grinding to prevent curdling of fats.

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Did you make this recipe? If yes, do let me know how it turned out in the comments below. Do share a picture on instagram with hashtag #CookedFromHungrystomach and tag us @h.u.n.g.r.y.s.t.o.m.a.c.h


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