In scientific circles,Chilika’s famed crab is referred to as Scylla serrata, popularly known as Black Crab or Mud Crab. ”These incomparably tasty crustaceans thrive in the brackish waters of the picturesque Chilika Lake, where they are harvested annually .

Kankada Jholo(Crab Curry) is a very popular dish in this part of the country and today we feature a beautiful adaption of this amazing dish by food blogger Monalisa Mehrotra.



Monalisa is a PR consultant by profession and a passionate blogger. A fish lover, pet lover, grand-ma taught cook, proud Odia and a food blogger who believes in the simple philosophy of the “belly ruling the mind”. Mona blogs at You can follow her kitchen tales on her instagram profile



Following is the blog from the BellyDriven 

Lately I am feeling terribly homesick even though I just came back from a wonderful trip to Bhubaneswar. I miss getting spoilt and the aromas from mommy’s kitchen . Highlight of my little one’s holiday checklist this time was a visit to the zoo and a boat ride so her Aja enthusiastically planned a trip  to the Nandankanan Zoological Park and the Chilika Lake especially for her. We had a great time not only on the boat ride to the Kalijai Temple Island along with that we got to relish the local seafood preparations. That was a day well spent, hubby and daughter gorged on the famous chilika crab masala and I settled for prawns. We also carried back with us some fresh crabs that mommy cooked for us at home the next day that we tucked into  with utmost gusto. This is her recipe and now that I am back in Pune and missing home terribly I recreated mommy’s Kankada Jholo. This is one of my favorite ways to cook crab and I enjoy it with a mound of rice topped with a dollop of ghee. So, here goes the recipe for Kankada Jholo- Odia Style Crab Masala Curry…

Prep time:  15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins


Crab Curry Ingredients

  • 500g crabs of your choice  (Or order 1Kg Cut Crab from Fishvish like I did)

For the marinade (Marinate the crabs)

  • 2 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Masala

  • 2 large onion
  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • 4 large garlic pods
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2-3 dried red chillis
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp, black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • poppy seeds
  • 3-4 cloves
  • Cinnamon (1 inch)

For the curry

  • 1 potato thickly sliced
  • 1 tsp panchphoran
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • Mustard oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Clean the crab by scrubbing it under cold water and then start by first pulling out the large legs and claws and separate the body from the top shell by pulling apart the back of the crab. Remove the feathery gills and using a cleaver cut the crab in 2 or 4 pieces as per your choice. The easier way out will be to get your fish seller to do this for you. "Chilly
  2. Marinade the crabs with turmeric powder, salt and mustard oil and keep aside for 15 minutes."Chilly
  3. Meanwhile take a pan and dry roast dried red chillis, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, mustard seeds coriander seeds, cloves and cinnamon till they start to sputter and release their aromas. Now in a grinder jar take sliced onions, tomato, garlic pods, ginger, poppy seeds and all the dry masalas and grind to a fine paste. Keep aside.Crab Curry Grind to a paste
  4. Take about 4 tablespoons of mustard oil in a wok and heat till it reaches the smoking point and add the marinated crab meat. Stir-fry for 5 minutes till the crab changes color. Remove from the wok and keep aside.
  5. In the same wok stir-fry the thickly sliced potatoes and keep asideIMG_20160701_112626
  6. To the remaining oil, add bay leaves and panchphoran and let them sputter. Add the ground masala paste and stir-fry on a medium flame till the masala leaves oil.
  7. Once the masala is fully cooked and the raw smell is gone add the fried crabs and stir-fry another 3-4 minutes. Tip in the potatoes and then add 2 cups of water. Mix it all nicely and reduce the heat to low, adjust the salt, cover it and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until it is done. I like my gravy a little thick but if you want a thin gravy add one more cup of water, but make sure you adjust the salt accordingly."Chilly
  8. Sprinkle the garam masala and garnish it with chopped fresh coriander. Serve hot with steamed rice
    Crab Curry and Rice