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How To Make Indian Butter Crab

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You’ve got to try Indian butter crab


Indian butter crab

Indian butter crab is always a hit!

Indian butter crab is probably the most fattening recipe I’ve ever made. I’ve cooked similar recipes on many occasions but last week I decided to try the real thing. I think every region in the world that has access to good fresh live crab has its own take on this dish but India gets the credit for being the originator of butter crab. This is a rich crab recipe that is great served with plain white rice or fresh naan bread.

If you have ever cooked live crabs before, you will know that they are usually cooked in boiling salt water. I was once invited to a seaside crab feast where the freshly caught crabs were cooked in the salty water of the Pacific and then eaten with melted garlic butter and crusty San Francisco sourdough bread. The simple dish was amazing.

Indian butter chicken is just as easy to make but it is slightly messier to prepare and eat. You won’t need to burden yourself with serving the crab with melted garlic butter because the live crabs are cooked in the stuff! I served this to a group of friends while on holiday in Cornwall and the end result was extraordinary.

Here’s what you need…

Cornwall caught crabs

Crabs caught off the Cornwall coast

INGREDIENTS for butter crab

1 one pound crab per person
4 litres melted clarified butter
20 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 Tablespoon garam masala
Freshly cracked black pepper
Chopped coriander leaves to garnish



In a large pot large enough to hold one or two crabs comfortably, bring the clarified butter to a bubbling boil.

Add the live crabs and cook one or two at a time for about eight minutes. Remove from the butter and set aside.

Continue until all of the crabs are cooked in this way. The butter will ooze into every crevice of the crabs’ bodies. I guess that’s why they call it butter crab.

When the crabs are all cooked through it’s time to get your hands dirty.

Separate the top and bottom shells and remove the spongy finger-like bits inside along with any white membranes.

Remove the white bodies and cut them in half. Then using a mallet or something else with a little weight, crush the bodies slightly. This will make it easier to remove the meat from the bones.

Next, remove the brown meat from the inside of the shells. This meat may have hardened during cooking and be quite solid or it could be runny. Whatever it happens to be – it’s also very tasty.

Set the brown meat aside and place the two body parts back in the shell to serve.

Again, using a mallet, crack the claws and legs open to make it easier to eat the crabs at the table.

Take about 250ml of the left over clarified butter and heat it up again in a saucepan. Add the chopped garlic and the brown crab meat. Whisk together to combine and cook for about two minutes. Be sure not to burn the garlic.

In a large tray, rebuild your crabs so that the large shells holding the bodies are in the centre and the legs and claws are on the outside.

Pour the hot garlic butter and brown crab meat mixture over the shells and sprinkle with garam masala, cracked pepper and the chopped coriander leaves.

Important ==> Butter crab needs to be served immediately or kept warm in a low oven for up to 15 minutes.


If you have any questions about preparing Indian butter crab, please do not hesitate to ask.

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