Chefs' Recipes

Grandma’s Fijian mud crab curry by Louis Tikaram

The perfect marriage of sweet, fresh crab with curry flavours.

By Louis Tikaram
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking (plus freezing)
  • Serves 4 - 6
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"I have such fond memories of growing up beside my Fijian grandmother in her kitchen," says Tikaram. "This dish is a special part of my life and career. Fresh mud crabs are so unique and meaty."

Ingredients

  • 1 live mud crab (about 1.5kg)
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) canola oil
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 40 gm ginger, finely copped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 30 gm (¼ cup) Indian-style hot curry powder (see note)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) fish or vegetable stock

Method

  • 1
    To kill the crab humanely, place crab in freezer to render insensible (30-40 minutes). Place crab upside-down on a board and kill instantly by inserting a long pointed knife into the head between the eyes and into the hole above the tail flap (see cook's notes p176). Cut crab in half through the body using a cleaver or heavy-bladed knife. Lift the tail, pull away from the belly, then turn crab over and remove top shell on both halves (reserve for serving). Pull away the long grey gills (dead man's fingers) and discard. Remove large claws with a cleaver or heavy-bladed knife, then cut each body half into 2 pieces. Using the back of the knife, crack claws to allow the flavours to infuse and crab to cook quickly and evenly.
  • 2
    Heat oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and stir until they begin to pop (30 seconds to 1 minute). Add, onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and 2 tsp sea salt, and stir until onion is tender (3-4 minutes). Sprinkle in curry powder and cook until aromatic (2-3 minutes).
  • 3
    Add crab and stir to coat. Add stock and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until crab is just cooked and liquid thickens (6-7 minutes). Serve crab curry in a large bowl topped with reserved shells.

Notes

Indian-style hot curry powder (Madras curry powder) is available from Indian grocers and select supermarkets.
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Wine suggestion 2018 Murdoch Hill Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills, SA. Wine suggestion by Thibaud Crégut.