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Black Pepper Crab, my style!

Fouzia Husainy
This is a delicious crab recipe which is light, but bursting with flavour and taste. Adding fresh coconut to the pepper masala worked like magic and it helped in enhancing the juicy sweet taste of the crab meat and balanced all the flavours. While the curry leaves infused a spicy perfume into the crab, the black pepper gave it a kick with its aromatic peppery notes. The earthy nutty tone of the roasted cumin and the cooling licorice taste of the fennel all added to the flavour and taste and the result was an enticing, finger licking irresistibly delicious crab dish!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course, Quick and Easy
Cuisine Indian, south indian
Servings 2 People


  • 1 live dungeness crab 1.5 lbs
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 2 tbs fresh curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 2" cinnamon stick

For the dry roast pepper masala

  • 1 tbs black pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

For the wet ground pepper masala

  • 4-5 garlic cloves medium size
  • 4 green chillies
  • 1 tbs black pepper corns
  • 2 tbs grated coconut
  • 1 tbs onion


  • Kill the Dungeness crab, remove the shell, cut the legs at the joints, scrape the tiny hair on either side of the crab legs, remove the gills, mucous, clean well, rinse and set aside. Check out my other recipe which gives details on what you need to know about crab and also how to clean it.
  • Pound the legs a bit or put small slits on them with a knife carefully. This is done to make the masala seep inside when it is being cooked which makes the meat flavourful and juicy.
  • Heat the oil in a pot. Add whole spices - pepper corns, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, curry leaves and sliced onions. Caramelize the onions well till they are golden in colour. Meanwhile roast the black pepper, cumin and fennel seeds. Pound the black pepper and crush the fennel and cumin seeds slightly coarse in a mortar and pestle and set aside.
  • Grind together all the ingredients of the wet ground masala with a little water and set aside.
  • Throw the crab into the caramelized onion mixture in the pot, close the lid and let them steam till they change colour to pink - 5 minutes.
  • Now add the dry roast masala, give it a stir then the wet ground masala, some salt and mix well. Pour 1/2 a cup of water around the sides of the pot to wash away the masala sticking to the sides and let it simmer on low for 10 mins or just till the masala thickens and coats the crab. Do not over cook as it will turn dry and rubbery. The crab is now almost ready.
  • Garnish by sprinkling some freshly pounded black pepper on the crab and dish it out. Enjoy with coconut rice and steamed veggies or water cress salad. I served some fried fish and steamed bok choy and another time with some water cress salad. So delicious!


1.Follow the instructions exactly step by step to get the utmost flavour out of this dish.
2. It is important to steam the crab first with the caramelized onions and then add the dry and wet masalas to retain the flavours of the spices.
3. Do not over cook the crab as it will turn dry and rubbery.
4. Always use live crabs to make a whole crab dish.
5. Do not delay cooking the crab after killing it. It is best to cook it within an hour of killing it.
Keyword Black pepper crab, Kali Mirch crab, Nandu milagu masala, Pepper masala crab
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