Mud crab with curry brown butter

The key to serving crustaceans is simplicity - a squeeze of lemon and a dipping sauce is about all you need. We've made a brown butter and added curry leaves for a fragrant note. Serve this with finger bowls of warm water and lemon slices, crab picks and crackers.

You'll need

3 small live mud crabs (about 850gm each) Lemons, to serve   Curry brown butter 100 gm cultured butter, diced 2 small garlic cloves, crushed Handful of fresh curry leaves Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste


  • 01
  • Kill crabs (see note). Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil (we use 10gm salt for every litre). Remove and discard flap, top shell and gills (dead man’s fingers) of crabs, remove yellow-brown tomalley (reserve this to whisk through the butter for extra crab flavour, if you like). Halve crabs, crack claws and boil, in batches if necessary, bringing water back to the boil before cooking the next batch, until crabs have turned bright red (8 minutes, or 1 minute per 100gm of crab). Drain and keep warm.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for curry brown butter, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat, add butter and cook until it smells nutty (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients and set aside to cool briefly.
  • 03
  • Serve crab with fragrant curry butter for dipping and lemon wedges.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

Additional Notes

RSPCA Australia's recommendations for killing crustaceans humanely are to first render the animals insensible by placing them in the freezer (under 4C - signs of insensibility are when the tail or outer mouth parts can be moved without resistance); crustaceans must then be killed quickly by cutting through the centreline of the head and thorax with a knife. For crabs, insert a knife into the head. This splitting and spiking destroys the nerve centres of the animal.

Drink Suggestion

Off-dry pinot gris.

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