Next time you have live crabs at the market, bring home and make this Mangalore-style Crab Sukka Recipe – a specialty from an Indian coastal city from the state of Karnataka. You will love the earthy flavours from blending whole spices with fresh coconut and a whole lot of crabs. Serve with roti or rice for the perfect seafood meal.
Eating seafood comes naturally to us Goans. Kids are exposed to cleaning and eating shellfish at really young ages, almost a part of growing up. I still remember cleaning prawns from their shells and deveining them used to be a regular odd-job for my sister and I. Crabs on the other hand, were a bit more complicated. Dad would bring back live fresh crabs from the market, we’d watch mum clean and prep them (as humanely as possible) and we’d be bursting with excitement to devour them. We’d sit at the dinner table and Dad would clean and put the delicious crab meat on to our plates, until I was old enough to manage to do it myself.
I have a great soft-corner for regional Indian cuisine – the kind you don’t usually find on restaurant menus. Due to its proximity, there’s a lot of food/cultural commonalities between Goa and it’s neighbouring states – Maharashtra and Karnataka. The recipe I share today originates from Mangalore – the coastal port city from Karnataka along the Arabian Sea. We share a great love for seafood and coconut with fellow Mangaloreans and this dish is inspired from Canara Restaurant in Karama which is my favourite place in Dubai to enjoy Crab Sukka and all other authentic Mangalorean specialties.
Mangalore-style Crab Sukka
- 6 crabs (cleaned and cut into pieces)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 cups coconut fresh grated
- 1 onion large (finely sliced)
- 4 whole red kashmiri chillies
- 3 whole long red chillies
- 5 - 6 cloves garlic
- 1.5 cups water
- 1.5 inches ginger
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- 3/4 tsp coriander seeds
- 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1.5 tbsps vegetable oil
- 2 sticks curry leaves
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves (finely chopped)
- salt (to taste)
Once the crabs are cleaned and cut into pieces, marinate with salt and turmeric powder, set aside for about 20-30minutes.
In a mixer grinder, add all the whole chillies, garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin seeds. Blend into a coarse paste with some water (just enough to mix). Once blended nicely, add in the fresh grated coconut and the tamarind paste but only blitz for about 5 seconds so that the coconut is still rough.
In a pan heat oil. Add the finely sliced onions and fry until softened. Add the ground spice and coconut paste and cook for a couple of minutes on medium to low flame, stirring regularly.
Add the crabs along with warm water and cover to cook. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
In a separate pan, prepare the tadka. Heat some oil, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the curry leaves and toss in directly into the crabs masala.
Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve immediately.