Celebrate Mother's Day with flower crab curry

Flower crab curry. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE - If you have yet to make a restaurant booking for your Mother's Day celebration, fret not. Celebrate the occasion at home with an appetising dish of flower crab curry. 

You can prepare the rempah ahead of time, allow it to cool and keep it refrigerated until you are ready to use it. For the rempah to last longer than a week, it is best to freeze it.

I like flower crabs because they are easy to handle and to clean. You can also use mud crabs or prawns.

Turmeric leaves add a lovely fragrance to the dish, but they are not easily available at most neighbourhood markets. I used to buy them at the Geylang Serai market until I began growing my own. Omit the use of turmeric leaves if you have difficulty buying them. The dish will still be tasty without them.



4 flower crabs

20g fresh turmeric root

30g galangal

20g old ginger

2 lemongrass stalks, use only 7cm of the white root part (sliced finely)

8 red finger chillies

3 chilli padi

250g shallots

3 garlic cloves

1 Tbs curry powder

2 tsp belacan powder

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

3 Tbs cooking oil

300ml water

3 tomatoes, diced

1 turmeric leaf, torn

3 kaffir lime leaves, torn

3 pandan leaves, knotted

350g coconut cream

1 Tbs fish sauce


1. Clean the crabs. Remove the gills and halve the crabs. Keep chilled until ready to cook.

2. Cut the turmeric, galangal and old ginger into small pieces. Blitz them with the lemongrass. Add a little water into the blender to help the blades rotate smoothly.

3. Add the red finger chillies, chilli padi, shallots, garlic cloves, curry powder, belacan, one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of sugar. Continue to blitz into smooth paste.

4. Heat the cooking oil in a non-stick wok or pan.

5. Fry the spice paste. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to fry for 15 minutes until the paste is thick and the oil is visible on the surface.

Fry the spice paste. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

6. Place crab pieces into the wok. Add the 300ml water. Add the diced tomato.

7. Add the turmeric leaf, kaffir lime leaves and pandan leaves. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the turmeric leaf, kaffir lime leaves and pandan leaves. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

8. Add the coconut cream and fish sauce. Season with salt.

Add the coconut cream. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

9. Cover and continue to cook for several minutes until the shells turn a bright orange.


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