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Red Curry Crab

Red Curry Crab

Red curry, hot and fragrant, is the most common of Sri Lankan curries. This recipe goes equally well with fish or shellfish.


  • 3 pieces goraka or 2 Tbsp tamarind
  • 2 lb crab legs, raw or cooked
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1½ cup coconut milk
  • Cilantro for finishing

Spice Paste

  • 3 Tbsp Red Curry for Fish
  • 1 small red onion
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 slice ginger
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  •  ½ cup coconut milk


  • 10 curry leaves
  • 3 inch-sized pandan leaves*
  • 1 stick lemongrass, in 2-inch pieces


  1. 1

     Soak the goraka for 10 minutes in ¼ cup boiling water. Set aside.

  2. 2

     Wash the crab legs, cut them into pieces and crack the shells so the seasoning gets to the meat.

  3. 3

     Put all the ingredients for the spice paste in a food processor and purée.

  4. 4

     Pour the paste over the crab, mix well, and let stand for 10 minutes.

  5. 5

     Pour the oil into a large pot over high heat and add the herbs. After a few seconds, add the crab and the spice paste. Stir well and sautée for 2-3 minutes.

  6. 6

     Add the goraka, soaking water, and coconut milk.

  7. 7

     Cook over high heat until the sauce is thick and the crab is heated through (5-6 minutes for cooked crab, a few minutes more for raw crab). Serve garnished with cilantro.

*Available frozen in Asian markets