three hundred and four

Crab Curry with O Tama Carey

Images by Andrew Butler

O Tama Carey is the owner and chef of one of our favourite Sydney restaurants, Lankan Filling Station.

"Our Crab Curry Sundays happen on the last Sunday of every month and are one of my favourite things at Lankan Filling Station. We take bookings and do two sittings with a set menu. The menu starts with a few short eats followed by crab curry with all the accoutrements, rice, dhal, pappadums, vegetables and sambols with gelato and sorbet to fish. We use Blue Swimmers for this day however we do do a mud crab version in the restaurant on normal days on request."
"I have the convenience of a very good fish supplier so sourcing crabs is just a phone call away however the Sydney fish market has excellent produce and there are nearly always mud crabs about. Most of the other ingredients should be easily found anywhere however you will need to find a good Sri Lankan grocer to get a Lankan curry powder. Curry leaves too can sometimes be tricky but more and more you are seeing them in supermarkets. Or you could just grow a curry leaf plant, they are very hardy and do well in Sydney."
I have the convenience of a very good fish supplier so sourcing crabs is just a phone call away.

O Tama wears an IN BED linen apron in Pine.

"If I was allowed to sit and eat this I would like to start my meal with a negroni to whet my appetite and then I think ice cold beer is one of the best matches. We do have a lovely Pinot Gris on at the moment which matches really well, it's lightly textured and aromatic."
If I was allowed to sit and eat this I would like to start my meal with a negroni to whet my appetite and then I think ice cold beer is one of the best matches.

The Recipe

Crab Curry

Makes enough sauce for 1 whole mud crab
Serves 2 as a main meal

Ingredients

1 whole mud crab (approx. 1 kg – 1.2 kg)
20g ghee
1 brown onion, dice into chunks
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cm piece ginger, chopped
4 small green chillies
¼ cup curry leaves
2 tbsp (16 g) Sri Lankan roasted curry powder
1 tbsp (8 g) chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
375 ml tin coconut milk
1 pandan leaf, tied into a knot
5g tamarind concentrate
1 bunch coriander, leaves picked and kept, stems chopped
Salt flakes and white pepper for seasoning


Method

Place your mud crab in the freezer for half to one hour so it reaches a sleep like state. Once that happens, place your crab on a chopping board, top shell down and swiftly cut the crab in half with a cleaver. 

Hold each half over a bowl (to catch the juices), pull off the shell and remove the feathery gills. Cut each piece in half and, using the flat side of a cleaver, gently bash the claws to break the shell a little. Make sure to scrap out any of the bits in the top shell to add to the sauce.

In a large, heavy-based saucepan, heat oil and ghee over medium heat until ghee is melted.

Add onions, garlic, ginger, chillies, curry leaves and coriander stems and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes or until onion is soft.

Add spices and salt and cook, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes or until mixture just starts to catch on the base of the pan.

Add crab and reserved juices and stir to coat.

Add coconut milk, pandan leaf and tamarind. Have a taste to check your seasoning and then turn heat to low and cover your saucepan with a lid. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes making sure to give the crab a stir every so often. Crab is cooked once all the shell has changed colour, try and peek inside the flesh of the claw to double check.

Garnish with coriander leaves to serve.


Serve with:
Dhal
Cabbage mallung
Pappadums
Rice
Sambols

Eat with your hands.

@lankanfillingstation