Leela’s Chilaw Crab Curry (Kakuluwo Curry)

August 6, 2012
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While this dish is usually made with lagoon crabs, you can use any type. It’s spicy, so for a more moderate version, take it easy on the cayenne pepper.

– 5 large blue crabs, washed and split (with the legs on)
– 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
– 1-2 tablespoon cayenne pepper powder
– 1/4 teaspoon allspice
– salt to taste
– 1 tablespoon raw rice
– 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
– 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
– 3 tablespoon shredded coconut
– 5 cloves garlic
– 2 tablespoon oil
– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 sprig curry leaves
– 1 tomato, chopped
– 2-inch (5 cm) piece pandanus (optional)
– 1 bunch murungu leaves (optional)
– 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
– 1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
– 2 tablespoon tamarind, soaked in 1/4 cup (65 ml) water


  1. Wash and clean crabs (remove gills and dirt). Split down the middle and crack legs so gravy can penetrate.
  2. Toss crabs with turmeric, cayenne, allspice and salt. Set aside.
  3. Roast rice, peppercorns, and cumin together. Then roast coconut until brown. Grind all ingredients with garlic and set aside.
  4. Heat oil in medium pot. Sauté onions, curry leaves, tomato, pandanus and murungu leaves.
  5. Add crabs and 1/2 cup (125 ml) water. Cover and steam.
  6. Combine rice mixture with water and coconut milk and add to pot. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Soak tamarind in 1/4 cup water. Strain seeds and add liquid to pot. Simmer and additional 5 minutes until done. The gravy should be dark and rich.

Makes 4-6 servings


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