Indonesia Eats

Kare Kepiting: Indonesian Crab Curry

Kare Kepiting Jawa TimurKare Kepiting is common to be found at places like Sidoarjo, Gresik, Surabaya and Tuban.  I grew up in Sidoarjo where there is a small eatery (Depot) which is known for its Kare Kepiting.  The depot was located in the corner of the street that goes to Sidoarjo train station.  I believed the name was Depot Maju Jaya.

According to one of my followers on Instagram, the Depot has been closed since 2014 which is pretty sad.  A legend depot for its Kare Kepiting and Sate Kambing (Goat Saté).  With so much memorable growing up in that town, I recreated my own Kare Kepiting by using Rajungan (Blue Crab).  So I supposed to change the name into Kare Rajungan.

The recipe that I had here is slightly changed from the recipe of Kare Udang Galah that I posted more than a decade ago. 

Do you have any memorable restaurant during your childhood and it has been closed?  Do share your story with me! I’d love to hear it.

Kare Kepiting Ingredients

Yield: 3-4 portions

Kare Kepiting: Indonesian Crab Curry

Kare Kepiting: Indonesian Crab Curry

Kare Kepiting ala Jawa Timur or Eastern Javanese Crab Curry is such a memorable dish of my childhood growing up in Sidoarjo, suburban city of Surabaya. The freshness of crabs will determine the sweetness of its crabs. Combining with a mix of spices and coconut, this Kare Kepiting is worth to be defined.

In this recipe, I used blue crabs (rajungan in Indonesian)

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) crabs
  • 2 lemongrasses, bruised
  • 3 centimetre galangal with diameter 2 centimetre long (1 1/5 inches length), bruised
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 Indonesian bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind
  • 200 mL coconut milk (60% concentration)
  • 550 mL water
  • 4 tablespoon cooking oil
  • salt and sugar as desired to season
  • Grind into a paste
  • 5 shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 candlenuts, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tsp terasi (English: dried shrimp paste, Malay: belachan)
  • 1 centimetre centimetre (2/5 inch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (1 centimetre length fresh turmeric root)
  • 5 red chilies (it can be reduced or added depend how spicy you like)

Instructions

    1. Rinse off crabs under warm tab water.
    2. Halve them.
    3. Toast all ingredients that will be grinding. Grind them until smooth
    4. Heat up a pot or wok at medium-high, add cooking oil. Stir in lemongrass, Indonesian bay leaves, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and ground spices. Fry until fragrant.
    5. Toast in crabs into fragrant spices in a wok or pot. Season with salt and just a pinch of sugar. Continue to stir and cook.
    6. Add water. Let them cook until a boil. Pour in coconut milk, reduce the heat and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until thicken.
    7. Taste if you need to adjust the saltiness. The curry should be savoury and a hint of sweetness. Most sweetness will come out from fresh crabs.

Notes

Best to eat with warm cooked rice or steamed buns (mantou)

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