Goan Crab Masala Recipe

Goan Crab Masala Recipe
Seafood is an important part of the Indian non-vegetarian diet, especially along the coastal regions. Malvani Cuisine is essentially delicious coastal Konkani cooking. The scenic Malvan region is located in the state of Maharashtra along its southern coast. Malvani dishes are characterized by the abundance of fresh locally grown produce, spices and tender succulent coconuts. This dish, in particular, is a combination of taste & flavors from both the Malvan region & Goa.

My family ancestry originates from Goa, as does my love for seafood. This particular dish has always been a family favorite. Fresh crabs are always tender, succulent and delicious but feel free to make this recipe using any shellfish such as mussels, cockles, clams, scallops or even shrimp. If you haven’t cooked with crabs before it can be a little intimidating. But I can assure you, it‘s very easy and completely worth it.

The key to this dish lies in the special Malvani Masala (spice mix). This bold aromatic mixture of spices is characteristic of many famous Malvani dishes including this recipe.



5-6 whole dried red chilies, to taste
2” stick of cinnamon, broken into smaller pieces
4-5 whole black peppercorns
3-4 cloves
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 black cardamom
½ piece of star anise
1 piece of mace (the lacy outer covering of the nutmeg)
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg


Roast all of the ingredients one by one in a dry skillet on medium low heat until fragrant. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Grind into a fine powder & store in an airtight bottle for up to 6 months.

Malvani Masala




2 lbs fresh crab legs, cleaned & cracked
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
3-4 dried red chilies, to taste
6-8 fresh curry leaves
2 tsp Malvani masala powder
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 tsp ground coriander powder
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate (or 1 tsp tamarind powder)
1 cup freshly grated coconut or coconut milk
juice of ½ lemon or lime
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish


In a large wok on medium heat, add the oil. When hot, add the onion & sauté until lightly browned. Then add in the garlic, ginger, dried red chilies & curry leaves. Gently stir fry for a few minutes and then add the spices (Malvani masala powder, turmeric, ground coriander powder, salt and pepper). Now add the tamarind along with the coconut milk & a cup of water. Stir well to combine & add the crab legs. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and steam for about 6-8 minutes by which time all the crab legs should be tender but fully cooked. Lastly, add the lime juice and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Serve hot with fragrant Basmati rice.

 photo GoanCrabMasala.jpg

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You Should Also Read:
Curried Crab Salad Recipe
Crab & Cream Cheese Samosa Recipe
Goan Caldeirada Recipe

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