Indian Ocean Crab and Prawn Curry

crab and prawn curry

I served this curry as the main course at my dinner party last night.  It’s based on Jamie Oliver’s Southern Indian Crab Curry from his book Cook with Jamie.  I kicked it up a notch (to borrow a term from another TV chef) by adding some fresh prawns and some Southeast Asian flavors like shrimp paste and lime leaves.   That’s why I call it an “Indian Ocean” curry, because it’s food from an imaginary sunny island between India and South East Asia transported to a dreary, rainy island between the Hudson and East Rivers.

  • olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 heaped teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 5 green cardamom pods, crushed and husks removed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and finely sliced (2 jalapeños turned out pretty mild, I would put in 3 or 4 next time, but I’m evil)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste (get it at Bangkok Center Grocery or Kalustyan’s)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of tamarind concentrate (Kalustyan’s again)
  • 1 large pat of  butter
  • one 14-ounce can of coconut milk
  • juice of 2 lemons or limes (I used 1 lemon and 2 limes)
  • 2 lime leaves, stem removed and thinly sliced (Bangkok Center Grocery again)
  • 1 pound of uncooked prawns, shelled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • one 1-pound can of crab meat
  • fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar or palm sugar (Or to taste. Bangkok Center Grocery and Kalustyan’s carry palm sugar)
  • a few splashes of fish sauce
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat three splashes of olive oil in a large pan and add the fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cardamom, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, onion, jalapeños, and shrimp paste.  Season with salt and pepper.  Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes until lightly golden, then add the turmeric, butter, and tamarind.

After about 2 or 3 minutes, pour in the coconut milk and a can-full of water. Bring to a light boil and turn to low heat and simmer away for 5 minutes so.  Then add the lemon/lime juice and lime leaves and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Add the prawns and crab meat simmer for 4 minutes or until the prawns cook through, and taste. Season with salt and pepper and a little more lemon juice if you think it needs it.  I also added a few splashes of fish sauce and a bit of sugar at this point.

Garnish with plenty of fresh cilantro and lemon or lime wedges if you like.  Serve with some fluffy white rice (jasmine or basmati).

See also:

Published by

leesean

Foossa Facts