Tobago Coconut Curry Crab & Dumplings Recipe

Published on February 23rd 2022 by Rachael Ottier Hart.
Last updated on April 1st 2024
This recipe, developed through the collective effort of at least six experts, underwent meticulous research and testing for over three months. Learn more about our process in the art and science behind our recipes. This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure Policy.
Front shot of Tobago Coconut Curry Crab in a plate with garnish and chilli on the top

When exploring the island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, you have a wide variety of local dishes to dive into. However, one iconic dish to Tobago is Curry Crab and Dumplings. Trini's and foreigners, this exceptional dish is sought out because of its incredible flavor and the pleasure of eating while sitting on the beach. The foundation for this dish is seasoning the chunks of whole crabs with a mixture of local green seasoning, curry, and masala powders. They then slowly simmer in a curry and coconut milk sauce to ensure the flavors infuse into every nook, cranny, leg, and claw. Next, our traditional drop dumplings are added to the dish, and they too soak up the delicious gravy that everything is swimming in. This is a hands-on dish, so be ready to get messy, but it's so worth it. This recipe is easy to follow and keeps to the authentic flavors you would expect if it came from one of Tobago's local, beach restaurants. We hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do, and please share it with friends and family as an interactive dish that will make for great conversation and lasting memories.

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Time & Serves

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
65 mins


Crab - cleaning and seasoning
  • 6 lbs Blue Crab

  • 2 tablespoons Lime juice

  • 2 teaspoons Salt

  • 2 tablespoons Green Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon Curry Powder

  • 1 tablespoon Amchar or Garam (hot) Masala

  • Water

Curry Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Virgin Coconut Oil

  • 2 cloves Garlic, whole

  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds

  • 1 medium Onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon Ginger, minced

  • 3 Seasoning Peppers, minced

  • 3-6 Chadon beni, minced

  • 2 large Tomato, chopped into bite-sized pieces

  • 2 tablespoons Green Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons Curry Powder

  • 1 tablespoon Amchar or Garam (hot) Masala

  • 500 ml Coconut Milk

  • 500 ml Water

  • Salt & Black Pepper to taste


Crab Cleaning & Seasoning

If working with fresh whole crab, use a food brush and some freshwater to clean the crabs and thoroughly remove all dirt and debris.

Begin dissecting and gutting the crab by opening the upper shell; this is usually used for stuffed crab where the shell is filled with cooked crab meat.

Once the upper shell is removed you will see the inside of the crab. Now remove and discard the gills, mouth, vital organs and anything else that is not attached to the body.

Now turn the crab over, and you will see a flap called the apron lift remove this and discard it as well. 

Begin to crack open your crab by holding it firm in one hand and twist off the legs and claw then crack the body in half.

Place the pieces of crab into bowl of water with the lime juice and give one last wash and rinse. Using a sharp paring knife you can scrape off the hairs on the legs if you choose.

Coat the crabs in the salt, green seasoning, curry and masala powders, let marinate in a container for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge for more depth of flavor.


Prepare and pre-cook the dumplings according to our Classic Bakes Trini Dumplings Recipe and add to the pot in step 7.

Shape into flat circular disks for an authentic Crab Curry Dumplings

Curry Crab

Place a heavy bottom pan or large stockpot on medium-high heat and add the oil.

When the oil is hot, add the whole garlic and cumin seeds, cook until burnt, and then remove with a slotted spoon and discard.

Now add the onion, garlic, ginger, seasoning peppers, chadon beni, tomatoes, and green seasoning and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the curry powder and masala powder and mix to make a paste adding water if too dry and cooking for 3 minutes.

Mix in the seasoned crab, tossing in the paste until the crab is coated, then cover and cook for 5 minutes or until crab shells have turned red.

Stir in the coconut milk and water mixing to thoroughly combine, then bring the mixture to a boil cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Uncover and stir to make sure nothing is burning to the bottom of the pan, add your dumplings, turn the heat to a medium, let simmer for another 5 minutes, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Remove from the heat cover and rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serve crab with pieces of dumplings and curry gravy, and enjoy!

Rachael Ottier Hart

Join Rachael on a global culinary journey. With a passion for travel and diverse cuisines, she crafts recipes that weave flavors, scents, and stories into each dish, igniting your wanderlust with every bite.

More posts by Rachael Ottier Hart

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Rachael Ottier Hart

Join Rachael on a global culinary journey. With a passion for travel and diverse cuisines, she crafts recipes that weave flavors, scents, and stories into each dish, igniting your wanderlust with every bite.

More posts by Rachael Ottier Hart