Soft Shell Crab recipe Chef Manish Merhotra

Fine Dining Indian food magazine June 2017 


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 Soft Shell Crab, Flame Roasted Coconut, Tomato Pickle Chutney

Soft shell crab is a favourite ingredient of mine. I first trialled this dish at our London restaurant. It was such a hit that I knew I had to include it in the Indian Accent menu.


Soft shell crab                        2 nos.

Tempura batter                     1 tbsp

Cornflour                               4 tbsp

Oil                                            for frying

For coconut mixture

Coconut flakes                       7-8 nos.

Gunpowder                            2 tbsp

Coriander leaves, chopped   1 tsp

Spring onions, chopped         1 tsp

Mustard seeds                          ¼ tsp

Split urad dal, washed             ¼ tsp

Curry leaves                              4-5 nos.

For tomato pickle chutney

Tomato pickle                            1 tsp

Mayonnaise                                1½ tbsp

Tomato ketchup                         1 tsp

Garam masala powder               ¼ tsp

Chaat masala                               ¼ tsp


To serve

Coriander leaves, chopped                  ½ tsp

Spring onions, chopped                        ½ tsp


Clean soft shell crab thoroughly. Pat dry and keep aside.

Prepare coconut mixture:

Dry roast coconut flakes till they are completely dry, crisp and slightly golden in colour from the edges. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add gunpowder, chopped coriander and spring onions. Mix gently, taking care not to break the coconut flakes. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, split urad dal and curry leaves. Allow to crackle. Pour over coconut mixture. Toss gently and keep aside.

Prepare tomato pickle chutney:

Use savoury tomato pickle. Take required quantity in a blender and grind the pickle. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve to make a smooth paste. Mix tomato pickle paste with mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, garam masala powder and chaat masala. Mix well, adding a little water if required. The consistency of the chutney should be a drippy sauce.

Fry crab:

Dip the cleaned crab in tempura batter. Dust generously with cornflour. Shake the pieces to remove excess cornflour. Deep fry in hot oil till crisp and golden. Remove and drain excess oil.


Place fried crab in a bowl. Add coconut mixture. Toss well, till the masala coats all the crab pieces. Finish with chopped coriander and spring onions. Serve hot with tomato pickle chutney.

Tempura Batter Recipe

Makes:                                500 ml (approx.)

Tempura flour                   350 gms

Water                                  500ml

Put tempura flour in a mixing bowl. Slowly add water. Whisk well to get a smooth batter.

Gunpowder Recipe

Makes:                                           3 tbsp (approx.)

Oil                                                   1 tsp

Mustard seeds                               ½ tsp

Chana dal                                        ½ tbsp

Split urad dal, washed                   1 tbsp

Rice                                                  ½ tsp

Garlic pod, peeled                          1 no.

Dry whole red chilli                       1 no.

Curry leaves                                    3–4 nos.

Sesame seeds                                 1 tbsp

Fine sugar                                        a pinch

Vegetable broth powder                1 tsp

Salt                                                    to taste

Heat oil; add mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, rice, garlic pod, whole red chilli and curry leaves. Sauté for a while. Add sesame seeds and continue to sauté for 4–5 minutes, or till lentils are browned. Allow to cool and grind to a coarse powder in a blender. Add a pinch of fi ne sugar, vegetable broth powder and salt. Mix well. Do be aware that vegetable broth powder contains Ajinomoto.

Finediningindian Magazine previous issues

Fine-Dining-Indian Food Magazine – Issue 1-2 (1)
Fine-Dining-Indian Food Magazine – April 2017 Issue 2
FinediningIndian Food Magazine - May 2017 Issue cover page

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