Blue swimmer crab and sweet chilli

Blue swimmer crab and sweet chilli

Sri Lankan Flavours
Craig Wood

This recipe comes from the Colombo Hilton where I worked as a first commis, a role training chefs take before they qualify.


Quantity Ingredient
2 blue swimmer crabs
pinch salt
1/2 lime, juiced
oil, for deep frying, plus 1 tablespoon extra
pinch pepper
1 onion , chopped
10 cm piece rampe, (optional)
10 curry leaves
1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger, crushed
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised, white part only
1 teaspoon Roasted curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
1/2 cup fish stock or water
1/2 teaspoon sugar


  1. Remove the shells from the crabs. Discard fibrous tissue and wash under running water. Break crab in half down the middle with legs still attached to each half.
  2. Season crab meat with salt, pepper and lime juice and deep-fry in a hot pot for about 5 minutes, until crab is red. Place on absorbent paper and drain off excess oil.
  3. In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat, add onion, rampe and curry leaves and cook until golden brown – about 2–3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and lemongrass and cook for a further minute. Add curry powder, pepper and chilli flakes and cook for another minute. Add tomato paste and chilli sauce, then fish stock and sugar. Stir thoroughly.
  4. Place crabs in a large bowl, pour sauce over, toss and serve.
  5. You can’t eat a crab with a knife and fork so this dish has to be enjoyed with your fingers. Remember to place fingerbowls of warm water with a wedge of lemon or lime on the table, to wash your hands after you have eaten the crab.
Sri Lankan Flavours
South East Asian
Southeast Asian
Sri Lankan
South-East Asian
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