Coconut crab with stone bass

Seared fillets of stone bass served up with crabs in a rich tamarind and coconut curry sauce.


  • 150g/5oz desiccated coconut
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves, leaves picked
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 green chillies, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 400ml/14fl oz coconut milk
  • 300g/11oz fresh white crab meat, picked
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 4 x 200g/7oz stone bass fillet, skin on
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander cress

Preparation method

  1. Heat a frying pan until medium hot, add two thirds of the coconut, with the cloves, curry leaves and turmeric and fry until golden-brown.

  2. Place into a small food processor or grinder and blitz to a fine powder.

  3. Heat a sauté pan or wok until hot, add the vegetable oil and onions and fry until golden-brown.

  4. Add the chillies and the remaining desiccated coconut and fry for one minute.

  5. Add the tamarind paste, palm sugar and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened then stir in the crab meat and coriander and season with a little lime juice, salt and black pepper.

  7. Season the stone bass fillet with salt and black pepper.

  8. Heat a frying pan until medium hot, add the stone bass skin side down and cook for two minutes, then turn over and cook the other side for two more minutes.

  9. To serve, spoon the crab curry onto the plate, then top with the stone bass and finish with a sprinkling of coriander cress.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen

Less than 30 mins preparation time

10 to 30 mins cooking time

Serves 4

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