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Soft Shell Crab Curry

BY Rudi Liebenberg

This curry is full of flavour and the delicate soft shell crab is a real treat.

  • Makes : 6 |
  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 2:20 hours |
  • Cook Time : 35 mins
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1 C (250 ml) rice flour

¼ C (60 ml) cake flour

2 Tbsp (30 ml) baking powder

200 ml soda water
Curry Sauce

1 C (250 ml) vegetable oil

2 onions, diced

4 Tbsp (60 ml) fine chilli powder

1 Tbsp (15 ml) ground coriander

1 Tbsp (15 ml) ground cumin

1 tsp (5 ml) black mustard seeds

1 tsp (5 ml) cumin seeds

12 fresh curry leaves

2 fresh green chillies, slit in half lengthways

2 Tbsp (30 ml) chopped garlic

2 Tbsp (30 ml) grated ginger

4 tomatoes, puréed

1 C (250 ml) lime juice, freshly squeezed

½ C (125 ml) lemon juice, freshly squeezed

a small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
6 soft shell crab, cleaned

oil for deep-frying


fresh lemon to serve


Combine all of the ingredients and mix well using a whisk or electric beater. Allow the batter to rest for an hour before using.


Curry Sauce

Place the oil into a medium sized saucepan and bring up to a low heat. Add the onion and sweat for 10 minutes until soft and translucent.

Add all the spices and the chilli and fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes and then add the tomato purée. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the lime and lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes. Finish off with the fresh coriander.

Season to taste and allow the curry to rest for 2 hours before using.


To Assemble

Place the oil in a deep-fryer or a deep saucepan and heat to frying temperature.

Roll the crab in the batter and deep fry until crisp at 180 C° (about 3 minutes)

Heat the curry sauce and coat the crab in the sauce. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon.


Best served with hot, steamed basmati rice and sambals.