I Love India: coconut and crab curry recipe

This is not a watery curry; here the sauce is thick but not so dry it clings.

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Serves 4

Ingredients
*5 tbsp vegetable oil
*1 tsp brown mustard seeds
*15 fresh or dried curry leaves
*1 onion, finely chopped
*salt
*40g roughly chopped root ginger (peeled weight)
*cloves from 1/2 large head of garlic
​*400g tomatoes, blended until smooth
*1/4–1/2 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
*1/2 tsp ground turmeric
*2 tsp ground cumin
*2 tsp ground coriander
*3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
*3 tsp garam masala 
*80g fresh grated coconut (you can buy this frozen in Asian supermarkets as well as fresh in some supermarkets now), plus more to serve (optional)
*2–3 green chillies, stalks removed, pierced with a knife
*1 medium-sized crab, around 1.2kg cleaned, lightly broken up in places
*2 tsp tamarind paste, or to taste
*handful of chopped coriander, to serve

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick karahi, wok or saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and, as they are popping, add the curry leaves and cook for another 10 seconds or so. Add the onion and a little salt and cook until it is soft and has a good golden brown colour on the edges, around 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make a paste in a blender of the ginger and garlic with some water. Add to the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes or so, or until the water has dried off and the garlic smells cooked.

3. Add the tomatoes, seasoning and powdered spices and cook well until the masala releases oil into the pan, around 15 minutes, stirring often. Once it has released oil into the pan, stir-fry over a high heat to darken a little. This will deepen the flavour and colour.

4. Meanwhile, blend the coconut with some water until smooth. Once the tomatoes are done, add the coconut and chillies, bring back to the boil and add the crab. Cook for 2–3 minutes, then add enough water to come just halfway up the crab. Return to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Once the crab is done, add most of the tamarind, taste and adjust the seasoning and add more tamarind or chilli powder for more tang or heat respectively. There should be a lot of thick sauce; this is not a watery curry, you should be able to eat the creamy sauce with rice. 

6. Serve sprinkled with coriander or coconut, or both.

More from I Love India:

I LOVE INDIA by Anjum Anand (Quadrille, £20.00) photography: Martin Poole


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