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Nadan Njandu Curry / Kerala Crab Curry

Nadan Njandu Curry is country style crab curry of Kerala. Crab meat is cooked in coconut milk with a blend of spices and topped off with a tadka in fresh coconut oil.

Seafood is Kerala's own natural gift, and fresh seafood is available all the year around. So, we Mallus prefer fresh seafood and rarely need to consume frozen seafood. Two days ago Homey got some crabs from the market, and the fish monger was kind enough to clean and cut them, and that made my cooking part a lot easier.

About 750 gms of fresh crabs were reduced to 400 gms after cleaning and cutting. After making this curry I got a big warm bear hug from my son (he loves crab curry). I actually wanted to surprise him but the flavors and aroma of the curry played havoc to my surprise plan!  "This curry is so good, Amma!" is what he told me when I gave him a little hot curry in a check whether everything is right or how we mallus say "uppu nokkal"!

Bachelors, novice cook, new brides (hi) if you love crab curry then, make this and enjoy! No need to order from a restaurant.

I used fresh coconut milk; but if you dont have the time, you can ofcourse use readymade coconut milk powder. Please refer "tips" at the bottom, and yes it makes making this awesome curry all the more easy.

That being said; let's get cooking and bring Kerala cuisine to our table.


I used these stars....forgive my onions they are not at their best looking :(

Heat coconut oil in a kadai or a large pan. Add in mustard seeds and let it crack. Add in sliced onions and put the flame on high for a minute and mix well. With the flame on medium, add in ginger, garlic, and salt. Stir well for 3 to 4 minutes on medium flame or until the onion starts to brown lightly.

Add in Kashmiri chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and garam masala powder. Mix well on low flame, so that the raw flavor diminishes.

Add in the chopped tomatoes, mix well for 1-2 mins. The tomatoes should be lightly mashed and cooked and no need to wait till oil comes out. I hope you can make this out from the picture.

Add in 1 cup of thin coconut milk or (2nd milk, randam pal) and put the flame on high so that it boils.

Allow it to boil nicely. Since we did not saute or fry the tomatoes in the masala (oil) you can see them in the curry...this is what we want.

Add in the crabs and cover and cook for 5 to 7 mins on medium heat.

In between, you can  open lid and add in curry leaves, so that the flavor seeps in. Sprinkle in pepper and fenugreek powder. Add in vinegar if using; though if the tomatoes are of the sour type you cam omit it.

Once the crab is cooked and coconut milk has reduced. Add in 1 cup thick coconut milk or onnam pal. Simmer the fire and mix well on low heat. Sometimes, after adding thick coconut milk if you simmer for long, the curry might it is best to switch off the fire once the gravy/curry starts to boil.

This is the tadka I used.

Heat a tadka pan with coconut oil. Add in the peppercorns first, then the sliced shallots (let it brown lightly), chilies (break them) and curry leaves. Pour this over the curry and cover with a lid. I think this is the moment my son came to the kitchen and asked "what are you cooking, Amma?"

So easy and yum!

Serve hot with rice.

Tips: If you are using ready made coconut milk powder, for 1 cup water you should add 1 tbsp of coconut milk powder to make the thin milk (2nd milk).
For thick milk, you should add 2 1/2 to 3 tbsp of coconut milk powder to 1 cup of water.
I used 200 ml cup for measuring.

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Nadan Njandu Curry / Kerala Crab Curry

PREP TIME: 5 Mins    |  COOK TIME: 30 Mins    |  SERVES: 3-4

   CUISINE : Kerala     CATEGORY: Side Dish
nadan njandu curry


  • Cleaned Crabs: 350-400 gms
  • Onion: 2, sliced.
  • Ginger: 1-inch, sliced finely.
  • Garlic: 1/2 pod, sliced.
  • Green Chilies: 2-3, slit.
  • Tomatoes: 2, medium.
  • Kashmiri Chili Powder: 1 tsp.
  • Coriander Powder: 2 tsp.
  • Organic Turmeric Powder: 3/4 tsp.
  • Garam Masala: 3/4 tsp.
  • Pepper Powder: 1/2 tsp.
  • Fenugreek Powder (Uluva): 1/2 tsp.
  • Thin Coconut Milk: 1 cup.
  • Thick Coconut Milk (Onnam Pal): 1 cup.
  • Vinegar: 1 tsp (optional).
  • Mustard Seeds: 1/2 tsp.
  • Coconut Oil: 4-5 tbsp.
  • Curry Leaves: 1 Spring.
  • Salt: 1 tsp (or as needed).
  • To Temper
  • Coconut Oil: 1 tsp.6
  • Shallots/Cheriya Ulli: 5 to 6, thinly sliced.
  • Curry Leaves: 1 Sprig.
  • Peppercorns: 1/2 tsp.
  • Whole Red Chill


  1. Heat oil in a large pan or Kadai. Add in mustard seeds and allow it to crack. Then add in the sliced onions, put the flame on high for a minute and mix well; then put the flame on medium, add in ginger, garlic and salt. Stir well for 3 to 4 minutes on medium flame until the onions starts to brown lightly.
  2. Reduce the flame to lowest and add in Kashmiri chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and garam masala powder. Mix well, so that the raw flavor diminishes about 1-2 mins.
  3. Add in the chopped tomatoes, mix well for 1-2 mins. The tomatoes should be lightly mashed and cooked, and no need to wait till oil comes out.
  4. Add in the thin coconut milk, and put the flame on high so that it boils. Add in the cleaned crabs and cover and cook for 5 to 7 mins on medium heat. In between open lid and add in curry leaves, so that the flavor seeps in. Sprinkle in pepper and fenugrek powder. Add in Vinegar.
  5. Now open the lid and the thin milk must have reduced by half, add in the thick coconut milk, simmer and mix.
  6. Heat oil in a tadka pan, and add in all under To Temper and pour it over the curry. Immediately cover and switch off the flame.


  • I used fresh crabs; before cleaning it weighed around 750 gms.
  • Since whole crab has less meat; adding salt should be done cautiously.
  • Once thick coconut milk is added, do not simmer for long as sometimes it might curdle.
  • The curry will thicken a bit once it is cooled.
  • Try to use coconut oil. Serves best with rice or Kerala puttu.

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  1. I'd give you a big warm bear hug if you made this for me too! I've never had crab curry, but I DO LOVE crab so I know this has got to be good.

    1. Aw! MJ! how I wish I could...thank you so much for stopping by always.

  2. Hello chechiii,

    I am not actually from India but my husband he is from kerala, id love to cook variety of indian dishes cause i love spicy food as well..

    I just want to know how you make a thick and thin coconut milk????

    1. Hi Sarah, thick milk or 1st milk is what you get after squeezing out scraped coconut with water; and when u add some water to that same coconut again and squeeze out you get the thin milk or 2nd milk. If you are using coconut milk powder then 1 tbsp mixed in 1/2 to 3/4 cup will be thin milk and 3 tbsp mixed in 1 cup will be thick milk...hope this helps.


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