Nawabi kekda – aimond-crusted soft-shell crab with pineapple chutney and tangy potato salad – by Atul Kochhar

11 September 2006
Nawabi kekda – aimond-crusted soft-shell crab with pineapple chutney and tangy potato salad – by Atul Kochhar


(serves five)

For the crab 4 crabs
1tsp black pepper powder
1/4tsp red chilli powder
1tsp lime juice
Rind of 1 lime
15g mint, chopped
3 eggs
180ml coconut milk
250g finely chopped almonds
200g breadcrumbs
150g plain flour
Deep-frying oil
30g watercress, to garnish

For the pineapple chutney 50ml vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1/4tsp red chilli powder
1/4tsp garam masala
100ml cider vinegar
180ml coconut milk
200ml pineapple purée

For the potato salad 50 ml vegetable oil
1/2tsp mustard seeds
6 curry leaves
150g chopped onion
1/4tsp red chilli powder
1/4tsp turmeric powder
50g red peppers, diced
50g green peppers, diced
200g potatoes, diced
1/2tsp salt
75g sugar
100ml white vinegar


Marinate the crab in salt, pepper, red chilli powder, lime juice, lime rind and chopped mint. Set aside for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs and coconut milk. In a separate bowl, mix the chopped almonds or some ground almonds with the breadcrumbs.

Dip the crab in egg mix, dip in flour and re-dip in egg mix, and re-dip in flour. Then dip in almond mix and toss gently, coating each leg separately. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

For the pineapple chutney, heat the oil in a small pan and sauté chopped garlic and onion till translucent. Add spices and vinegar and simmer until reduced to almost dry. Add coconut milk and pineapple purée. Simmer until reduced by half.

For the potato salad, heat oil and fry mustard seeds and curry leaves, sauté chopped onion and add red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Add diced peppers and potatoes. Add salt, sugar and vinegar and simmer till potatoes are soft. Remove and cool. Store in refrigerator.

To finish the crab, fry in a deep sauté pan, making sure to keep crabs' legs separated. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove from the pan on to a paper-lined tray and reserve, keeping warm.

To serve, set a mound of potato salad in the centre of the plate and spoon the pineapple chutney around the salad. Cut the crab in half and place on top of the salad, cut side down. Sprinkle a few sprigs of watercress on top of the crab.

Atul Kochhar

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