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Seafood Recipe - Crab in Pineapple Curry

Here is a fabulous seafood recipe involving crabs. Crab is definitely one of the more popular seafood in Malaysia.

There are many types of crabs being consumed here. Some are fresh water crab (found in mangrove area in the mud) and some are caught from the sea. Before they are cooked, they come in many different colors -- mostly dark brown or black if they are mud crabs and white with light brown patches or white and blue, reddish color if they are sea crabs. However, when they are cooked, all crab shells would turn red or dark orange.

fresh sea crabs
Fresh sea crabs

Crab lovers can tell you that there are ways to determine a good quality crab from others. Good crab preferably are caught during the full moon. It is believed that during this time, the flesh of the crab is the meatiest and juiciest. At other times, the crab meat does not fully fill its shell.

Since crabs molt (discard their shell once they are outgrown), this tip makes sense. Crab meat are made into frozen crab sticks or simply frozen in blocks. Excellent for making thick crab meat soup. A beautiful dish. Fresh live crabs are also good if simply steamed or boiled in their shell. Just prepare a piquant dipping sauce, and they are a real treat for seafood lovers.

Air asam dipping sauce for 
	steamed crabs
Air asam - a piquant sauce for steamed crabs.
The sauce is made of tamarind, lime juice, chilies and onions

Crabs are also good deep fried in spicy batter. There is also a kind of crabs bred and marketed as "soft-shelled crabs". The crabs are kept in indoor water tanks and harvested just when they start to shed off their old shells. As a result, the shell is not hardened yet, and the crabs have soft shells which made it easier for consumption. It always amazes me the extent that human beings go for convenience sake!

fried crabs in batter
Fried crabs in batter

In Malaysia, the seafood recipe of crab curry with pineapple is one of those dishes that we grew up with. Below, I show you how I make this dish. I used ketam bunga (flower crab). The pictures also would teach you how to de-shell the crabs and prepare them for cooking.

remove crab shell
Remove top shell by lifting it away by hand

Back of crab
Back of crab

the flap of crab
Remove the flap of crab

  • Clean the crab with tap water, dry it.
  • Remove the top hard shell. If there are crab roes (in a sac, orange color), keep them. They are a delicacy. (I read somewhere that there is a restaurant that only serve crabs with roes. How on earth they find loads of pregnant crabs really beats me).
  • Turn over the crab, cut away the flap in the middle of the back of the crab.
  • Cut the crab into two pieces.

half of crab
Half of crab

The pieces are now ready for cooking. Normally the crabs are cut this way for making curry. Otherwise, they are usually cooked whole. Okay, here is the recipe, step by step with photos.

Spices for making crab curry
Spices for making crab curry

Saute whole mustard and fresh herbs
Saute whole mustard and fresh herbs

Add in curry powder paste and simmer
Add in curry powder paste and simmer

Add in crabs, coconut milk and kerisik
Add in crabs, coconut milk, pineapple pieces and kerisik

crab curry with pineapple
Delicious seafood recipe -
 Crab curry with pineapple

Seafood Recipe Crab Curry with Pineapple

  • 3 medium sized crabs (halved - refer to the instruction on how to cut them)
  • 25 g (1 small packet) curry powder for cooking seafood.
  • 2 tbs kerisik (I used frozen kerisik that I made myself)
  • 2 tbs fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tbs mixed whole spices (halba campur ): mustard seed, fenugreek, etc
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, pounded finely
  • 4 cloves of garlic. pounded finely with the ginger above
  • 1 cup thick fresh coconut milk
  • 1 cup pineapple pieces (fresh or canned)
  • 1 cup pineapple syrup (from the canned pineapple)
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat cooking oil
  • Saute mustard seed mix
  • Add in onion and curry leaves
  • Add in pounded garlic and ginger
  • When fragrant, pour in the curry powder mixed with pineapple syrup
  • Once that the oil separates, put in crab pieces and the pineapple
  • Sprinkle kerisik
  • Pour in coconut milk, season with salt to taste
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes until the gravy thickens
  • Serve hot with bread or rice

This is a dish that you would want to make over and over again. If you cannot get fresh fat crabs, you may substitute the seafood with prawns or even lobsters. Yum!

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