If you ever hang out to coastal odisha must have had spicy Kankada Jhola (where Kankada means crab and Jhola means gravy, in odia ) from a take away or odisha restaurant, you will know how incredibly scrumptious it is. A spicy red hot curry must be wanted to try by every sea food lover made out of common ground paste and aroma of fennel seeds brimming with flavour. This recipe is made with simple ingredients from the kitchen and gets ready to serve is perfect for any get together party or any occasion in family.

An extremely delectable !! When the crab roasted in spices turned out pleasant orangy colour which is not only eye catchy but also robustly flavourful. A slow cooking dish is a perfect way to take the advantages of all the juicy and tenderness of the crabs. The aroma of the curry tantalize your taste bud and indulge your craving ,refreshing and very comfortable to eat. An exotic mood changer  dish makes a great companion with steamed rice along with garden fresh salads.

crab !! crab !! Every odias memory triggered to chilika lagoon crab, giant and juicy .. Chilika is a lake of brackish water , a harbour of species of seafood and many fishes suitable in humid tropical climate of odisha state, India. And also a great source of sustainability of many fishers livelihood.

Every coastal region has their uniqueness in sea food and odisha has treasure of sea food.Crab curry is one the finest dish of odia cuisine .Our perception of food comes from aroma, flavour and texture. These three sense of flavours exist in odia  crab curry and you will enjoy it having something that is really delicious.

How to clean crab?

The crab looks tangle but its that much easy to clean .The big giant grabs  or any crabs taste good when they are fresh or  lived. Frozen crabs have not taste good as like live crabs. Although chilika is far away from my house ,good to find some local crabs at valuable price.

  • 1.Sometimes fish seller clean the fish for you and you just need to rinse them before cooking  at home.
  • 2.Another method is boil water over high flame and drop the crabs, Off the flame.

. Keep them in hot water around 10 minutes depend on the size of crabs. Take them out and allow to cool. Then snap and twist the crabs to collect all the parts of it.

Now you can snap and twist the parts of crabs. Marinate them with turmeric and salt for 15 minutes.

As i always say for preparing any non vegetarian dish always use heavy bottomed aluminium utensil is the best for any non vegetarian cooking.

And again mustard oil is one of the staple oil for any non vegetarian cooking in odia cuisine. Although other oil can be good for cooking but the taste established by mustard oil non other cooking oil can do.

Heat oil in a wok or pan until oil became smoky over medium flame. Add pinch of sugar and heat until caramelized is the process to enhance the texture and slight sweetness in the dish.

Add one by one bay leaf, fennel seeds, turmeric and chili powder along with green chilies. Be careful while adding turmeric and chili into the hot oil. Always heat up the flame to low to skip burning the spices.

After adding chopped onions, add tomato paste and fry well. I have get rid of the seeds from the tomatoes. We use tomato to only increase the richness of the gravy to reduce the sourness i have removed the seeds.

Now add prepared ground paste. Sauté until oil of the masala leave the sides of the wok. Add potatoes and crabs inside .Adding crabs you need to fry for some time at least 6 to 7 minutes. The colour of crabs will change to orange and tempting.

Keep roasting, add rest of the masala and salt. Add water, though the dish is gravy based and odias love the juicy and spicy gravy of Kankada Jhola the most. Cook until crabs are soft and tender inside.

This is a perfect go to recipe and heath quotient if prepared at home. Try it  make your weekend more flavourful and enjoyable.

Crab Curry || Kankada Jhola

yield : servings 4

prep time : 15 minutes

cook time : 25 minutes

total time : 40 minutes

 things we need to prepare

  • 500 g crabs    –cleaned
  • 1 medium potato   -peeled – cut into wedges
  • 1 onion -chopped
  • 4 to 5 green chilies  -slited
  • 1 small tomato -seeded,blended
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4th tsp sugar
  • garam masala
  • mustard oil
  • salt

Preparation masala for gravy

  • 2 medium onions    -sliced into cubes
  • 7 to 8 garlic cloves
  • small ginger piece
  • 3 to 4 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Put all the ingredients in a small jar and blend to form a smooth paste. Use little water to make the masala more smooth and fine paste.


Clean the crabs. Most of the time the live crabs are easily cleaned by fisher man.

When you brought the cleaned crab, you need to marinate them with some salt, turmeric which is the basic of any non vegetarian odia dish. Keep it a side for 15 minutes.

In a shallow pan/wok add 3 to 4 tsp of mustard oil and allow it to smoke .Caramelised sugar and bay leaves. Add fennel seeds, when they cracked enough add green chilies and onions. Shallow fry them over medium flame.

Add red chili powder, turmeric and tomato paste. Sauté it.

Add prepared paste and fry until the masalas are aromatic or raw smell goes off.

Drop potatoes and crab inside the masala. Combine them nicely and fry for 7 to 8 minutes ,so the roasted masala soaked in the crab and makes the meat juicy.

Add coriander powder and garam masala. Fry some more time.

Add 2 cups of water into the pan over high flame. When the gravy is about to boil heat up the dish over medium flame. Add salt and cover partially ,cook until the crabs cooked.

Odias love slight thin gravy of crabs with potatoes. So you can adjust the proportion of water on your choice.

When the crab is ready, off the flame and serve with steamed rice.

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