Crab Curry With Betel Leaves Recipe

A Thai seafood dish with exotic flavour. 


14 oz dried vermicelli
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons jiggery, palm sugar, or soft light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 kaffir lime leaves
3 1/2 oz betel leaves, thinly sliced
9 oz crabmeat
10 betal leaves
10 cilantro leaves
1 red spur chile, seeded and finely sliced lengthwise

For the red curry paste:
7 large dried red chiles
10 dried bird’s eye chiles
1 cilantro root
1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemongrass
1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced galangal
4 shallots, chopped
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp thinly sliced kaffir lime zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 1/2 tbs roasted ground black pepper
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
1 tsp roasted coriander seeds
1 1/4 inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste



Step 1: Soak the vermicelli in a bowl of water for 5 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and set aside. For the red curry paste, soak the dried chiles in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes or until rehydrated, then drain and chop.

Step 2: Pound the chiles and the remaining curry paste ingredients in a mortar with a pestle until smooth. Set aside.

Step 3: Fill a pan halfway with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the vermicelli and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water, then let stand in a strainer to drain completely. Use your hand or a fork to roll the vermicelli into small rolls. Place on a serving plate.

Step 4: Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of the curry paste, and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Gradually pour in the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Season with the fish sauce, sugar, and lime leaves, then add the sliced betel leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the crabmeat and gently stir for 1 minute.

Step 5: To serve, ladle the curry into serving bowls and place each vermicelli roll on a betal leaf and top with a cilantro leaf and 2 strips of chile.

Reprinted with permission from Thailand: The Cookbook (2014, Phaidon)

See more recipes from Thailand: The Cookbook.


Jean-Pierre Gabriel