Crab masala (kekda ka saalan)

Crab Masala – we call it kekda ka saalan in Hindi or Urdu. Whenever my mother used to cook this crab dish, the whole house used to be full of aroma and we will know that crab is cooked for dinner. This crab masala and with the same ingredients, you can prepare it as a curry or dry form like masala. I always love my crab to be fried or masala that is dry type with little sauce, but spicy.

Crab is a special dish, so eaten only in holidays or weekends because it is time consuming to get rid of the shells while eating. But we enjoy eating it as it is very delicious. It is eaten only when we are at home. We have to eat it carefully, otherwise its claws can hurt us.


  • Crab – 800 gms (make each crab into halves)
  • Oil – 4 to 5 tbsp
  • For paste

  • Onion (medium) – 2
  • Tomatoes (medium) – 2
  • Coconut – 1/3 cup
  • For gravy

  • Oil – 4 to 5 tbsp
  • Cloves – 4
  • Green cardamom – 3
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 (2 inch piece)
  • Green chillies (slit) – 4 to 5
  • Tomato – 1
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Coriander leaves – 1/3 cup
  • Salt – as required


  • First clean the crab well, separates its claws, while cooking it will be easy. Make one crab into half.
  • Grind onion, tomato and coconut into a fine paste, can add little water and grind into smooth paste.
  • Take a bigger vessel or kadai , because crab needs space to cook.
  • When the oil gets heated, add whole spices, after 5sec add onion paste and all powders and ginger, garlic paste, green chillies and chopped tomato, mix well, add water and cook for 8 to 10 min.
  • Now add crab into half cooked gravy, close the lid and the crab should be immersed in gravy nicely, can add little water, if required.
  • Cook the crab till the gravy is reduced and the crab becomes pink red when it is cooked. It will take 12 to 15 min on medium heat.
  • After few min, you can see that gravy might have become reduced and becomes thick.
  • Now simmer it for 8 to 10 min, stir it well.
  • The crab should be coated well with gravy, it depends on you how much gravy you want.
  • If you want dry form, do not close the lid and cook, cook till the gravy is dry and garnish with coriander leaves.
  • You can see in the picture that I have kept very little gravy.
  • You can mix it with plain rice the gravy of crab and eat it.
  • Serve it with plain rice and rasam.


  • Add reqired water for cooking the crab and for gravy, other wise it will take more time to form thick gravy, if more water is there.
  • If it becomes too dry, can add little water and cook it.
  • It will be spicy, so can reduce the chilli powder.
  • Crab is like fish and prawn, gets cooked soon.
  • You can reduce the oil also as per your requirement.
  • If you want, can add crab when the gravy is half cooked.

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