Nandu Kuzhambu


Crab in spicy coconut tamarind gravy, a great main course, typically served with steaming hot white rice. This delectable curry is very popular in Tamil Nadu. In one way its great fun and adventure, when you make it with live crab, which most of you would have seen back home, where they tend to escape from the cleaning process. I grew up anticipating my family special crab kuzhambu during cold winter days., which is worth a wait for this delicious delight, fun part when you roll up your sleeves , digging with dripping hands, trying hard to extract the flesh and juice from every crevice of the crab shell. Here I share with you my great family Nandu Kuzhambu recipe.

6 nos Blue crab
3 nos Onion (finely chopped)
2 nos Tomato (diced)
5 clove Garlic (crushed)
1 no Green chilli (slit open)
½ tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red chilli powder
3 tsp Coriander /dhania powder
1 tsp Salt (or to taste)
5 tsp Tamarind juice (or thick store bought pulp 1/4 tsp)
4 tbsp Oil
½ cup Water
¼ tsp Mustard
¼ tsp Cumin seeds
5 no Curry leaves
2 pinch Asafoetida powder
6 nos Fenugreek seeds
3 tbsp Fresh grated coconut
1 tsp Black pepper corns
¼ cup Water


Clean crab and wash them thoroughly with cold water. Grind all ingredients from table-3 to a semi-thick paste and keep aside. Heat oil in a big deep pan (similar to pasta pot) and splutter mustard, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and season with asafoetida powder. Add the minced onions, green chilli and garlic, fry them till they become translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they tend to become soft. Add in the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and fry with the onion tomato gravy till the oil separates. Now pour in a cup of water, tamarind juice, salt and stir in with the coconut paste. Bring the whole gravy to one boil, reduce to simmer and add the crab pieces and close with a lid. Cook on low medium flame for 15 minutes, let the crab cook well (it should turn bright orange in colour), switch off and garnish with fresh curry leaves. Serve with plain white rice and choice of vegetable curry.


American grocery super market chains carry just the cooked snow crabs and imitation crab meat. Chinese market or oriental grocery stores carry live blue crab, call to find on which day they get their supply, so that you can grab a bag full of fresh ones. Normally they sell each for a buck.  Click here for interesting facts about Blue crab.

How to clean live crab?  This article will follow sometime soon, link will be posted as soon as the pictures are ready. 


Family recipe

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12 comments to Nandu Kuzhambu

  • Jayaraman

    one of the best i ever tried…. awesome…. and thanks for sharing the recipe..

  • simlaya

    hi…..i tried this recipe y’day …….and it came out SUPERB……absolutely mouthwatering and bravo .all aour family love this . Thank you very much mullai..everyone should give it a try.

  • Ramya.B

    Tried this.. and it was really delicious ;)
    thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  • shopna

    HI, i tried this. It was fabulous, just that the gravy was little so i doubled the water and the curry powders. It was great taste. Thanks.

  • ayesha1


    I couldn’t find anyChinese or oriental grocery stores carry live blue crab in Farmington,MI

    Please give some suggestions.

    Also does costco have anything fresh?


  • sapna

    hi…..i tried out this recipe y’day …….and it came out SUPERB……absolutely mouthwatering …its the first time im trying something with crab…..thank you for sharing it Mullai…….everyone shld give it a try, I say….

  • priyak

    Hi mullai..
    Am desperately waiting to learn how to clean live crab…. my chithi used to do it at home, but unable to learn it from her. so pls help us…

  • vvskgn

    Awesome recipe!

  • diana

    Hi Mullai

    COuld you please post “how to clean live crab”?


    • vijikathir


         We bought live crab last week.

       1. First we boil water in a big pot

      2. Put the live crab in boiled water for 2 to 3 mins.

      3.Once the shell turns color..remove from hot water and cool it little time.

      4. First cut all the legs

      5. Turn the main body upside down  and show it under the running tap water.

      6. Running tap water will clean the bad black stuff from the body.

      7. The remaining white stuff is good to eat.

      8. Now cut the main body into 2 or 3 piceces.

      9. This Pieces are ready to make curry or gravy.

      Hope this will help.

  • gowher

    Yesterday i bought imitation crab thinking that it is a crab actually after searching in internet i got to know that it was not a crab but a kind of fish. Can u please help me regarding how to cook it. Please suggest me with a recipe to cook imitation crab.

  • Manoo

    Wow………. We just make how you have given. The only thing is we dont use asafoetida powder (only while making muruku I have seen ppl using it). I remember chasing those crabs whn mom cleaning it. We hit it with “idukki”. Someone need to clean it for me if I am making… Cant wait to see how to clean it…

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