¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 red onion, sliced
1 tbsp ginger, finely grated
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 pandan leaves
6 curry leaves
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
sea salt to taste
2 green mangoes, cut into wedges
2 blue swimmer crabs, cleaned and cut into halves
500ml coconut milk
1 cup water
¼ cup lime juice
1 tbsp tamarind paste
TO SERVE: steamed rice and warm roti
1 Heat oil in a large heavy-based casserole dish over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom pods and cinnamon, and cook for 2-3 minutes until aromatic.
2 Add onion, ginger, garlic, pandan and curry leaves and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the onion is tender.
3 Add curry powder, turmeric, cumin and salt, stir to combine and cook for a minute.
4 Add mangoes, crabs, coconut milk and water. Cover, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes or until crabs are cooked.
5 Remove from heat and extract crab meat.
6 Add crab meat to casserole dish and stir through with lime juice and tamarind. Return to heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes before serving with rice and roti.
Sri Lankan spices can be a challenge for wines. If the wine is too acidic (such as riesling), the spicy food will make the wine seem sour. If the wine is oaky (say an old-style chardonnay), the spices will draw out the bitterness. A safe bet is to underplay the wine. Enter this shy, understated semillon from the maestro Andrew Thomas, with its fresh, breezy flavours and subtle acidity. The gentle persistence cleanses the palate ready for the sweet crab meat and the sour kick of tamarind.