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Mum's yummy Bengali spider crab curry

Sanjay Kumar and his mums curry
Image | Chrissie Laming, Newquay Voice © Copyright | Chrissie Laming, Newquay Voice


Serves: 3-4
Preparation time:30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
(Definitely time consuming, but the preparation of Spider crab can be a fun family occasion!)
1 Fresh Spider crab
2 Bay leaves
1 Cinnamon stick
5 Cloves
4 Cardamom pods
1 tsp Cumin seeds 
2 tbsp Onion paste
1 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste 
1 Tomato (finely chopped)
1 tsp Turmeric powder 
2 (slit) Green chillies 
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 cup Water
Salt - to taste


Sanjay says: "Kolkata, like Falmouth, has the best of both fresh water and sea fish markets. Fish is an essential part of a Bengali diet and soft shell crab often finds its way into a happy Bengali man's stomach. Over the summer, when my parents visited Cornwall, mother was fascinated by the plethora of fresh fish available to us, and she prepared a basic traditional Bengali Crab (Kankrar Jhal) curry with a spider crab. Although fiddly to prepare, spider crabs are sweeter, cheaper and much more plentiful and sustainable... so go ahead and try one today."
1. Clean and wash the crab thoroughly under running water.
2. Heat water in a deep sauce pan and boil the crab in it for about 8-10 minutes.
3. Remove the crabs and save the water in store for later use.
4. Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and fry for about a minute. It smells awesomely aromatic.
5. Add onion paste and fry for about 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
6. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 2 minutes.
7. Now add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, salt, green chillies and saute for 3-4 minutes.
8. Chop the crab into claws and divide the main shell into two. Clean the halves for a few minutes under running water and remove any dead mans fingers.
9. Add the steamed chopped crabs and mix well. Cover and cook for about 7-8 minutes on low flame.
10. Add the water in which the crabs had been steamed to the curry. Mix well.
11. Cover and cook for another 2 minutes and then switch off the flame. Have a cheeky taste ,it's yum!
12. Enjoy this awesome spider crab curry with freshly boiled rice and a squeeze of lime.
Alternatively you can enjoy the fresh taste of Cornish Spider crab simply by boiling one for 8 minutes, and then smashing it up and foraging the sweet meat out of the nooks and corners, complemented with nice bread and regular sips of a good dry white wine. Simples..!


Cornish King Crab

Gill Netting

Cornish Waters

Gill nets are efficient for catching spider crabs when they are on the move across the seabed. As they get so badly tangled the quality sometimes suffers and gill nets can have issues with accidental by catch of other non target species.


Cornish waters

Pots are low impact and selective. Undersized catch can be returned safely and the pots don't damage the seabed.

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