CRAB – SRI LANKAN CRAB RECIPE – SEAFOOD MINISTRY OF CRAB – Nowadays there is still not much to hear about the typical food from Sri Lanka, but you can probably try it when you visit one of the typical eateries of Srilanka with the various menus served. So before you visit there, at least you know what menu is recommended.
The Sri Lankan crab is a typical Sri Lankan culinary icon. If friends have visited Singapore and booked the Singapore Chili Crab, it is most likely that the origin of the crab originated from Sri Lanka, so it was presented by Darshan Munidasa who is the leading chef of Sri Lanka. The popularity of Sri Lankan crabs in Singapore, eventually also inspired Chef Darshan to set up the Ministry of Crab restaurant, which in some years was the top 50 restaurant in Asia.
The Ministry of Crab is not only a restaurant but also a typical Sri Lankan culinary institution. I strongly recommend that you visit Sri Lanka, especially in Colombo, to enjoy the Ministry of Crab dishes.
SRI LANKAN CRAB
- ½ tbsp raw long white rice
- 4 tbsp ¼ cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened) OR freshly grated coconut
- 1 inch ginger minced
- 6 garlic cloves left whole
- ½ yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 ½ tbsp of unroasted curry powder recipe below – see notes for substitutes
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper I use 1 heaped tsp because we like it extra spicy
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 6 – 8 curry leaves
- 1 – 2 pandan leaves fresh or dried
- 2 – 3 fresh red or green chili peppers or 2 serrano peppers, sliced or slit in half
- 1 can of coconut milk good quality
- 5 – 6 FRESH blue swimmer crabs cleaned and cut in half (see video in post for cleaning instructions)
- Salt to taste
- Drumstick leaves traditional, but optional
- If you can’t find curry, pandan or drumstick leaves you can add some flat leaf parsley or cilantro instead
Water as needed
- Finely grind all the spices in a spice grinder. Set aside. If you are using roasted curry powder, add another 1 tsp of fennel seeds, ground to a powder (or ½ tsp ground fennel).
Grind the raw rice and coconut until fine (or if using fresh coconut, grind until you have a fine paste). Set aside.Add about 2 tbsp of coconut oil (or vegetable oil) into a large saucepan (there has to be enough space to gently stir the crabs) and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and saute for a few minutes until the onions have softened.
When onions are soft, add the 1 ½ tbsp of the curry curry powder, cayenne pepper and coconut/rice mix. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until the spices become fragrant.
Add the tamarind paste, sugar, chili peppers, curry leaves and pandan and ¾ of the coconut milk from the can. Add a generous ¼ tsp salt (more can be added after you taste it later). Bring it to a boil.
Place the crabs in this gravy/sauce and gently mix to coat the crabs with the thickened gravy.
Bring it to a boil on medium high heat and then lower the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until the crabs turn pink and are cooked through. Make sure to turn over/stir the crabs half way through cooking to make sure they are well coated with the gravy while being cooked.
Add extra coconut milk if you prefer it more creamy, or up to ½ cup of water to dilute the gravy. Add salt to taste.
Add the drumstick leaves or parsley or cilantro leaves and stir through while hot.
Serve warm with steamed rice. Enjoy!
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