Crab fry

I am a big fan of crabs from my childhood. My Aayi prepares crab for me and fish for my brother because I am not a fan of fish and he is not a fan of crabs. Now this has continued as my husband has joined my brother’s group. So there are distinct “crab-lovers” and “fish-lovers” groups at home. When we go to restaurants, I always ordered “crab thali” and my brother and hubby ordered “fish thalis”. Well…my sis-in-law keeps changing the group :D.

Aayi always prepared crab gravy. Though I had tasted many crab recipes in restaurants, the gravy was the only dish that I managed to cook. So my “crab” category had only one dish. Recently while I was talking to Deepa, she mentioned this point to me. She said I have to post more recipes in this category. She also gave this “crab fry” recipe to me and asked me to try it.

To tell the truth, I had my own doubts when I saw this recipe. Since the crabs are fried along with the shell, I was wondering how they will get cooked. But then I thought, when Deepa is telling it is so good, I should at least try once. At last after thinking for a long time, I decided to try it. I could not believe it…it was just amazing. Yummy, do not go on my words, just try it yourself and you will know what I am saying . Thanks Deepa for introducing me to this dish.

I also tried Shynee’s crab masala with remaining crabs. It was amazing. Read more here.

If you want to learn how to clean crabs, click here.

Cleaned crabs 4-5
Red chili powder 1 tea spn
Tamarind extract 1/4 tea spn (Squeeze the thick juice of small line sized tamarind if extract cannot be found)
Garlic 3-4 small (use 1-2 if using big ones)
Rava (sooji) 2 tbl spns
Turmeric a pinch

Ginger can also be added along with garlic to this dish. But I didn’t include it.
Only the stomach part is used for the fry. Do not use the legs.

Crush garlic (and ginger if desired). Apply it to crabs along with chili powder, tamarind, turmeric and salt. Leave it for around 1 hr so that the masala seeps in. I marinated it overnight.
Heat tava and spread some oil on it. Roll the crabs in sooji(rava) and fry on tava. Close the crabs with a lid. Fry on a low flame. After 5-6 mins, turn them. Take care not to burn. They usually take bit more time than fish fry.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 20-30mins (excluding marination time)

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Crabs Gravy (Kurle Ambat)

Crab Gravy
Crab Gravy (Kurle Ambat)

Finally, here I am with my all time favourite crabs gravy. I have observed that people who are very fond of fish, dont prefer crabs/prawns much and vice versa. Obviously I am in the second category.

At my native Kodkani, its very rare to find the crabs in the market. These are usually caught by people for their own use. Usually we ask Thimmappa to catch them for us. Many of the people at our native know how to catch them (No..I have never tried my hand on it). People say that they go to river with a lantern on ‘amavasya'(no moon) to catch them. The crabs live in small nest-like holes in the sand. They are caught using some kind of ‘big pincers’ (I am not able to recall what this tool is called).

There are usually two types of crabs that we get at our native. One is the crabs that we get in river which are called ‘Kurle’, these are black in color and second type are sea crabs which are called ‘jhali’/’jhale’. The river crabs have harder shell/bone than the sea crabs. The sea crab flesh is more sweater compared to the river crab.

An interesting fact about crab:
The crabs which are caught on or around “amavasye” (No moon) are the best ones with full of flesh and the ones caught near or around “hunnime”(full moon) do not have much flesh (they are called as ‘pollu’, meaning ’empty’). I still wonder how these things matter in the life cycle of crabs.

Cleaning of crabs, though looks like very difficult thing, can be mastered very easily. Click here for a tutorial of “how to clean crabs“. Anyway this is not required for those who live in the places where the cleaned crabs can be easily got.

In Bangalore, I liked the crabs thali at “Fish Land”, in majestic, where we get all the sea food cooked in Konkani style.

Most of the people use the 10 walking legs also for the gravy. But we usually discard them.

Crab Gravy

Crabs gravy (Kurle ambat)

A gravy prepared by Crabs cooked in freshly ground coconut.
3.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 -4


  • 4 crabs
  • 3/4 cup onions
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen coconut
  • 1 tea spn coriander seeds
  • 5-6 red chillies
  • 1/2 tea spn tamarind extract
  • Oil 2 tea spns
  • Salt


  • Clean the crabs. If the crab is big, cut them into 2 pieces to make eating easier. Slightly crush the legs with pestle(beat it just once or twice just to crack the outer shell slightly).
  • Heat 1 tea spn of oil and fry coriander seeds. Grind them with red chllies, coconut and tamarind to a smooth paste.
  • Heat remaining oil and fry onions till they are slightly brownish. Add ground masala, salt and cook for 2-3 min. Now add the crabs and cook for around 12-15min.
  • Serve hot with rice.
  • The taste of gravy increases once the crabs absorbs the gravy. So preferably serve it after 3-4 hours.


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