Getting a cook to reveal his special blend of masala for a signature crab curry isn’t easy. Chances are it features, at the very least, chillies, garlic and ginger, perhaps some cumin, coriander seeds, cloves and cinnamon, and possibly fennel, black peppercorns and ground turmeric. The recipe might then call for onions, tomato and grated coconut, with tamarind and lime juice for sour tanginess, and coconut milk to bring it all together. Not to mention the star ingredient – the tender, succulent flesh of giant crabs. It’s all quite overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve made it easy for you: all you have to do the next time a crustacean craving hits is consult this list. Here are our recommendations for five great crab curries in Durban.
The only restaurant on this list not serving Indian curry, Cake and Satay House nevertheless creates a beautifully fragrant Indonesian curried crab dish for R180. Expect flavours of lemongrass, chilli, ginger, coconut and lime leaves, amongst others, plus the portions of crab served still in the shell. Order a side of plain rice, stir-fried rice or noodles to soak up the sauce.
This landmark is best known for its exotic options like fish-roe curry and its tripe-and-trotters version, but it’s the aromatic crab curry that caught our attention this time. Served simply with rice or bread (normal, not naan), it can be yours off the à la carte menu for R150.
“You’ve come to right place for curry,” assures the manager of this family-run restaurant, which specialises in no-shortcuts traditional recipes. Portions of extra-large Mozambican orange crab are used for the dish, which is served with rice, poppadums and sambals for R235. Unwilling to reveal the details of the closely guarded recipe, the owner will confirm that it’s a tomato-based sauce with spices.
South Indian specialities are the drawcard at this hotel restaurant near the Durban beachfront. Their crab curry goes for a reasonable R155 and arrives with assorted accompaniments and your choice of three kinds of rice, or a roti. (Rice options include plain basmati, pilau rice or the restaurant’s speciality Jeera rice, dotted with roasted and ground cumin seeds sautéed in butter.) The curry itself features tomato and freshly ground spices – including cumin, coriander, mixed masala and chilli – plus their special tamarind sauce to lend its unique flavour.
This quirky restaurant may not be for everyone, but our editor, Abigail Donnelly, still rates its famous crab curry. Made with big orange Mozambican crab, it’s served with rice, salad and a plate of pickles for R285. The chef promises almost a kilogram of crab, so it will feed two people easily. The fragrant curry sauce is made with a base of tomato, onion and olive oil, with fresh ginger and garlic, and Seabelle’s secret masala blend.
*An honorary mention must go to the crab curry at Gounden’s in Umbilo. However, the exacting chef, unimpressed with the latest catches of crab, isn’t serving the dish at the moment.
Please note that while we take care to ensure the accuracy of our information, some details and prices might change without our knowledge.
Know of any other hot crab curries in Durbs? Let us know in the comments below.