Malvani Masala Crabs

My hurriedly taken photograph explains how I could not wait to dive into these succulent, Malvani Masala crabs! Sharing the authentic recipe so you can have them too!

#Indian #Malvani masala #recipe #crabs masala #spicy crabs, #facebook post #seafood #curry #authentic recipe
Malvani Masala Crabs

When I got the crabs at the Asian store, I knew I wanted to replicate my mother’s authentic Malavani masala, to enjoy them to the fullest!

As soon as I got home, I opened my Aai’s (mom’s) cookbook, Zanzaneet Non- Veg, to look for her recipe for the perfect masala! Incidentally, Zanzaneet non- veg has a lot of authentic Malvani fish and mutton recipes. My mother’s family came from Malvan so the recipes are as authentic as they can get!

#authentic Malvani and #Indian #curries, #gravies and #biryani
Zanzaneet Non Veg by Vaijayanti Rege- My mother’s cookbook that I follow for 121 fabulous and detailed recipes for egg, mutton, chicken and fish dishes, including biryani recipes.

I followed her recipe on page 31 for Kolambiche dabdabeet to make the masala.  I added the tamarind pulp and garlic to the marinade because I felt that the crabs had a stronger scent. It worked out perfectly and the cooked crabs, with the masala clinging to all its nook and crannies, transported me to food heaven!

Malvani Masala Crabs


Marinate together-

  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 pounds crabs, cleaned, and cut

For the masala-

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ¾ cup shredded dry coconut
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp

Other ingredients-

  • 2 medium onions finely diced, divided
  • 1 tablespoon oil

To make the Malvani Masala Crabs-

  1. Mix the marination ingredients together and rub the marinade well into the cleaned crabs. Set aside for half an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, make the masala. In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Fry the coriander seeds, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon, in that order, until the coriander seeds are deep golden brown and the other spices swell up and are fragrant. Remove from pan.
  3. In the same pan, in the remaining oil, sauté the sliced onion and the garlic cloves until the onion starts to caramelize and the garlic is blistered and golden but not burnt. Add the shredded dry coconut and stir fry until it is toasted and golden. Add the chili powder and stir for a few seconds. Remove from heat.
  4. Grind together all the sautéed mixture with the tamarind pulp. Add ½ of the finely diced onion to it and set it aside.
  5. In a deep pan, or a pressure pan, add the tablespoon of oil and sauté the other half of the finely diced onion until it is translucent. Add the marinated crabs along with all the marinade. Add the masala paste and mix well. Add 2 cups of water and some additional salt. Cover and cook the crabs for about 20 to 25 minutes or until done. For pressure pan, cook on low for 8 minutes after the first whistle.



  • Potatoes are generally added to this Malvani Masala crabs. Cut into 4 and add with the crabs, if you use potatoes.
  • You can adjust the water according to how thick or thin you want the gravy.

When I posted the photo on my Facebook page, I was so flattered by the kind words of praise and with so many requests for the recipe. Thank you all so much! I hope to hear from you and see pictures of your Malvani  Masala Crabs!

I am taking mine and joining the party at  Fiesta Friday #105 hosted by Angie and co-hosted this week by Lily @ Little Sweet Baker and Julianna @ Foodie On Board





37 thoughts on “Malvani Masala Crabs

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    1. I made them after a long time too Deepika. You know how they taste even better the next day? So I made a huge batch to have some for the next day too.


  1. Oh my, drooling, it looks incredible. I think you did justice to your Mom’s Masala beautifully and I don’t see that many seafood recipes from India. This is just gorgeous and your quick snap shot really captures the beauty of this dish,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Suzanne. Your compliment means a lot to me. My family comes from the coastal region of India so we ate a lot of fish and coconut. Growing up we had fish for dinner at least 3 times a week. Thank you for the compliment on my photo. I had not meant for this to go on my blog but when I posted it on FB quite a few people asked for the recipe, so I decided to put it up.
      Have a great weekend!


  2. Oh gosh Sandhya. Talk about temptation, even though I crave sweet things all the time, I think I’d grab this bowl of crab curry over a cupcake any day (now that’s saying a lot coming from me) LOL! You really did this recipe some justice, it’s nice to be able to remember our parents when we think of certain foods eh? I’m not so sure I’ve heard of Malvani? I see you posting to their site a lot? Pardon my ignorance, but there’s so much about India that I’m unaware of. Did you buy the crab legs in your local grocery store? Just salivating looking at that picture. Well done! I’ve made shark curry tonight 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loretta, Thank you so much. I would eat that cupcake after having the crab or shark curry:)
      Malvan is about 80 miles from Goa along the coast. My ancestors migrated there from Goa.
      I got whole crabs, cleaned and cut in half at an Asian store here.
      We have more snow tomorrow……so I will think of more spicy curries I guess:)


  3. I am a big seafood lover and my interests always seem to go towards dishes like yours. I just bought my first cookbook from Madhur Jeffrey, but it’s all vegetarian and no fish. Thanks for the recipe – if I get energetic enough to try this I will. It just sounds so delicious… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Judy. I am truly flattered! Sometimes I make the masala, blend and freeze it so I am ready to make this dish in minutes. Do let me know if you make it.


      1. Hi Sandhya! I have nominated you for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. Please do not feel obligated to participate. If you would like to participate, the link is on my homepage 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Antonia, thank you so much for thinking of me. I am truly honored. I have not been doing awards due to lack of time these days so I hope you don’t mind if I don’t participate. I really admire the awards though and hope to get back to them soon.
        Thanks again!

        Liked by 1 person

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