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This Thai crab curry recipe is a fragrant, exotic way to enjoy mud crabs. It requires a few unusual ingredients, but they can easily be found.

  • 500 g crab meat
  • 2 to 4 chilli peppers
  • 1 piece ginger, 1 cm grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, ground
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white parts only, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Optional:
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2 cups coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 to 4 lemon or lime leaves
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • Garnish:
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Add the chilli peppers, ginger, garlic, shallots, ground coriander, lime zest, lemongrass, salt and pound it into a paste with a mortar and pestle—you also can buzz it in a food processor, but it will not be quite the same.
In a large pot or wok, simmer the coconut milk for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the mixture from the mortar and stir it into the coconut milk, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes.
Do not let the mixture boil hard, but a simmer is okay. Add the crab, optional fish sauce, sugar, and optional lemon or lime leaves and let cook for about 5 minutes, until the leaves begin to give off their aroma and the crab is warmed through. Add the black pepper.
Serve over spicy vegetable rice and top with the chopped cilantro.

Recipe: Amanda Conradie
Photo: Elize de Kock

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