KitchenTigress: 15-Minute Flower Crab Curry

15-Minute Flower Crab Curry

If you like crab but can't stomach the idea of being a crab killer, flower crab would be right up your alley. The blue crustaceans are mostly sold dead. Live ones caught by local kelongs are available only once in a blue moon, when you're extremely lucky. Or maybe unlucky if you're not into buying food that's still moving.

Flower crabs taste better than the ubiquitous mud crabs. Because flower crabs live in the sea, they taste cleaner and sweeter than their muddy cousins which live in river estuaries.

There's also a difference in texture. Flower crabmeat is smooth, delicate and moist. Mud crabmeat can be quite coarse, and a bit dry if the crab is old.
flower crab curry
Is there any similarity between flower and mud crabs? Yes, there is. When they're not fresh, they're both mushy and gross.

With a pack of readymade curry powder, making flower crab curry takes no more than 15 minutes from start to finish. 4 minutes to clean and chop four crabs. 3 minutes to peel and chop some shallots and garlic. 8 minutes to stir-fry.

Do you have 15 minutes to make a delicious crab dish? Of course you do! Do you have time to eat it? Of course you do! What could be better than picking out the meat bit by bit from the nooks and crannies?

Some people like to stop and smell the roses. I prefer to stop and eat crab.

This recipe takes only 15 minutes from start to finish. Make sure your crabs are fresh, and your curry powder aromatic.

flower crab curry
  • 2½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 60 g shallots – peel, rinse, mince finely
  • 40 g garlic – peel, mince roughly
  • 30 g curry powder for chicken (I use Nonya brand) – add 3 tbsp water and stir to make a thick paste
  • 4 flower crabs (aka blue crabs), about 1 kg – discard abdominal flap; separate shell from body; discard gills, and stomach in shell; rinse thoroughly; drain; twist off pincers and crack slightly with side or back of cleaver; chop and discard last joint of small claws; chop each crab into 4 quarters
  • 40 ml light soya sauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten

  1. Heat well-seasoned wok till just smoking. Add vegetable oil and heat till very hot. Add shallots and stir-fry over high heat till translucent. Add garlic and stir-fry till slightly golden. Reduce heat to medium-low.

  2. Add curry paste and stir-fry till fragrant, drizzling with 2-3 tsp water at a time if spices stick to wok. Do not add too much water in one go or you'd be simmering instead of frying. If you like, you could fry with more oil instead so that curry paste doesn't stick.

  3. Increase heat to high. Add crab. Stir-fry till thoroughly mixed and heated through, again drizzling with 2-3 tsp water at a time to deglaze spices that stick to wok. Drizzle with light soya sauce. Stir till absorbed. Add enough water to cover half of crab, about ⅓ cup. Bring to a boil, stirring to mix well. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 3 minutes. Stir, then cover and simmer another 3 minutes.

  4. Crab should be cooked now. To check, pick a piece which has a pinky and ring claw and snip between the two claws with a pair of scissors. Meat is cooked if firm and opaque.

  5. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir to mix crab and curry sauce thoroughly. Turn shells upside down, i.e. cavity facing up. Drizzle a bit of curry sauce into shells, and then a bit of egg. Drizzle remaining egg on crab. Let egg set slightly, about 5 seconds. Stir to mix through. Sauce should now be just thick enough to coat crab. Adjust if necessary by adding a bit of water if too dry, or cooking a bit longer if too watery. Taste sauce and if necessary adjust seasoning.

  6. Plate and serve.