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Chettinad crab masala

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1x


This Chettinad crab masala is aromatic, flavourful, comforting with the perfectly roasted spices that makes it wonderfully delicious also incredibly Easy to make!



  • To roast and grind:
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs Peppercorns
  • 1 tbs fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbs coriander seeds
  • 6 dry red chillies
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomato
  • To make crab curry:
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 curryleaves
  • 1/2 kg crab
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 spring curry leaves
  • 1 tbs ginger garlic paste

To garnish:

  • Coriander leaves- 1 tsp


  1. Heat up oil add peppercorns, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds saute for a minute.
  2. Add dry red chillies, saute for a second.
  3. Add onions saute until the onions are translucent
  4. Add tomato and saute until the tomato turns mushy
  5. Once onion and tomato are well cooked, bring the mixture to room temperature and grind to a fine paste adding 1/4 cup of water. Keep aside until we use.
  6. Heat up some oil add the seasonings fennel seeds and curry leaves
  7. Add ginger garlic paste
  8. keep saute until the raw smell disappears.
  9. Now, add the ground onion tomato masala
  10. Keep stirring for 5 to 6 mins, if the gravy stick to the bottom of the pan adds 1/4 cup of water. (At this stage give a taste test add salt and pepper powder if needed.)
  11. Add crab pieces
  12. Thoroughly coat the crab pieces with masala
  13. Cover with the lid and cook the crab for 8 to 10 mins stirring occasionally
  14. The colour of the masala has become slightly darker and you can see a thin glaze of oil appears on sides of the pan. It’s time to turn off the heat.
  15. Sprinkle some handful of chopped coriander leaves and serve.


Tips to Make the Best Crab masala:

1.Gingelly oil: Using gingerly oil gives you the depth of flavours, however, you could swap to peanut oil or any vegetable oil

2.Crabs: Pick up the crabs that are fresh, you can suss out the smell to check the freshness of the crab. 

3.Heat: You can reduce the amount of Heatness in this recipe as per your tastebud.

4.Freshly ground masala: Roasting the spices releases the aromatic flavour.

Make sure the spices are roasted to lightly golden brown, over-roasting might gives you a bitter taste.

  • Category: gravy- nonveg, sidedishes
  • Cuisine: chettinad, southindian