South-Indian Flower Crab Curry Recipe

Flower Crab – Curry (Mangalorean Recipe)

I have been wanting to make these crabs for so long but always had something else planned for the weekend. I have never cooked crabs nor had the slightest idea what should be done if the crab is alive, neither did my husband. I told my husband: “My job is to cook the crab yours is to kill it” (fair enough right? 😜). So, on Sunday we finally managed to wake up a bit early with excitement to get fresh crabs from the wet market near us. Hoping they were still available at the market we happily found them at one of the stalls I intended to buy from. I was expecting the crabs to be alive but they were slightly cold when touched, mostly frozen when transported from the port I believe, tied with rubber bands not moving. Husband: “My job is done!” with a grin. We let the person at the stall pick the crabs for us as he was better at picking the fresh ones, 4 huge crabs for 22$.

The process of cleaning crabs takes less than 15 mins for 4 crabs. Prepare a curry paste and let the crabs cook in the spice paste for 20 minutes. You must definitely give it a try by referring to pictures below 👏. Happy cooking!


Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes


Flower crabs 🦀 – 1.5 kg, 4 large size

Olive oil – 2 tbsp

Curry paste:

Grated coconut – 150 g / 1 1/2 cup

Red dry Kashmir chili – 6, medium long

Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp

Garlic cloves – 3

Cumin / Jeera seeds – 3/4 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

Black peppercorns – 8 

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Medium Onion – 1/2, roughly chopped

Tamarind – tennis ball size, soaked in water 




>> How to clean Flower Crabs? It’s easy!


1. Turn the crab upside down. Lift the flap and discard.


2. Grab the bottom end in one hand and the upper end in the other. Lift the upper end of the shell and discard. Use a spoon to scoop out the soft roe (mostly in brown) out of them.


3. Remove the gills (spongy brown stuff) on both sides of the crab. I didn’t know those were gills until after I cooked them and realized they were inedible.


4. Using kitchen scissors ✂ cut the walking legs (with hair) and discard.

Crab legs

5. Remove the entire claw of each crab (to make space in the cooking pot).


6. In the end give it a through rinse to remove all the inedible stuff. If your container doesn’t hold the crab body, cut them into halves.

The crab is all ready to be cooked now.


1. Prepare the curry paste by adding all the ingredients in a blender. Grind to a smooth paste with water.

2. Heat oil in a wide deep-bottomed container. Add the curry paste and 1.5 cups of water for consistency along with 1 tsp of salt.


3. Add the crabs to coat with the paste enough to stick to the crabs. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for 20 minutes.



In 20 minutes they are done! It reminded me of mom making this for us when we were kids.


We served them in separate plates with a bowl of rice 🍚. Used our hands and teeth (or crab Cracker) to bite and suck the juices. They tasted delicious and flavorful 😋😍. When they are hot juices ooz out as you break them apart and the flesh can easily be sucked out.



Even if you have never tried cooking crabs. This is still the BEST recipe for a beginner. I hope you enjoyed reading though the fun process of how to clean and cook a crab in this post.


Cook’s tip:

*For left over crabs store it in an airtight container in the freezer. Since seafood tends to go bad soon it’s best not to store it in the fridge.


Stay Healthy!




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Flower Crab - Curry
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