Sarah Todd Cooked with Spice, Made with Love

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Crab Xacuti

for my love of Goan cuisine


Serves 4 10 mins preparation  |  30 mins cooking

Goa is a beautiful coastal region and the natives here have a knack of preparing seafood ever so skillfully. The Crab Xacuti is one of my favourites and here’s how to make it!

PS: Serve with pao (a super tasty goan bread) and enjoy!


  • 1 whole crab, legs removed and quatered
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, scored
  • 60 ml (1⁄4 cup) sesame oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds or fresh fenugreek (methi)
  • 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh turmeric or turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon each sweet paprika and ground chilli
  • 500 ml (2 cups) coconut milk
  • 2 fresh curry leaf sprigs
  • 2 tablespoon tamarind purée, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoon honey, or to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime, or to taste
  • Serve with goan pao


01. For curry, preheat oven to 180°C. Wrap shrimp paste in foil and roast until fragrant (5-10 minutes), then set aside. Meanwhile, place tomatoes in a pot of boiling water until skins split (1 minute), drain and cool down with cold water. Peel and discard skin, finely chop and set aside. Heat sesame oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium heat. Add floured crab and sautee until cooked through. Remove and set aside.

02. Add onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass and sauté until softened (10 minutes), add fenugreek, turmeric, spices, shrimp paste and sauté until fragrant (1-2 minutes), then add coconut milk, curry leaves, tamarind, fish sauce, honey and tomato and stir occasionally until flavours meld (10-20 minutes).

03. Add crab and cook over low heat, until cooked through (4-6 minutes). Add lime juice, adjusting seasoning to suit your taste, keep warm. Serve with fresh roti or brown rice.

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