Tobago Curry Crab and Dumpling

October 12, 2019
The official national dish of Tobago. This is a flavorful crab dish cooked down in a curry sauce with coconut milk.

Plate of curry blue crab with dumplings

I can't believe I didn't have this recipe up and posted before. 
I am the Tobago girl, so I should definitely have had the fore-running Tobago dish recipe up already.

Curry crab and dumpling is the must-have dish you need to get if you ever get to Tobago.

It's a bowl of delicious blue crab cooked down in a flavorful curry sauce. Then we pair it with some dumplings of any kinda and/or provision.

Pot of tobago curry crab

This is a no spoon necessarily needed dish.

You may only need a spoon to slurp up the gravy. I've seen many people use their dumplings as a spoon.

The best type of crab to use is a blue crab. It has a softshell and soaks up the seasoning from cooking from well.

If you cannot find that type of crab anywhere, another substitute would be the snow crab but I must say it is not as nice. The sauce doesn't get into the meat at all.

How to clean blue crab

I'm upset I forgot to take a pic of the whole crab before we started to clean it.

I bought the crabs whole AND alive at my local market. Sometimes you find them already killed and cleaned in packages. I was not lucky.

So here I was with a bag of live crabs wiggling around in my trunk while I drove home. I simply dropped them in my freezer. Death by freezing.

Some people also boil them but I feel like that's pre-cooking.

After freezing, then thawing out, throw the crabs in a bowl of water with some cut limes (squeeze some of the juice in there too)

Now it's time to clean them up.

We need to take the backs off. There is a slot where the back meets the lower body. Like a slit. Generally in the area where the eyes are.

Poke your knife between there and wiggle the back backward. Kind of gently to not mash up the bottom portion of the crab. THERE WILL BE GUNK

How to clean blue crab

There's going to be some yucky there obviously. The backs are to be discarded.

Sometimes people use the backs for other dishes. These crabs I got, the backs were not that deep to be used. So straight to the trash.

Back off of blue crab

After the back is off, cut the whole crab into 2 pieces

Blue crab cleaned and cut in two

You can add the now separated pieces back into the lime water, while you take the back of the rest of crab

Once all the backs are off and pieces halved, take a toothbrush to clean out any gunk that may be stuck in the crevices of the pieces. Wash out crab again and now it's ready to season up

Batch of blue cleaned crab

Cleaning the crab is the hardest part.

Make sure you have a nice heavy pan that is wide. A dutch pot is one of the most basic essentials for a kitchen.

You get an even cooking with them. And they are even better coated than prior. Amazon has a few good ones

You want a pot that is roomy. You want to have enough room in the pot so that all the crab fits in the sauce as it simmers and not just on top of each other.

Like we do with most curry dishes, we add the curry to hot oil before we have the meat in. We want to make sure to warm up the spices and start to bring the flavor out before the meat is added.

Once the curry is grainy, we add the crab and get it coated in the toasted/roasted curry powder.

Then we add the coconut milk, the best coconut milk is one made at home by the way.

Once the other seasonings are in, we are ready to simmer.

We use this simmering time for the sauce to thicken and for the flavors to get into the crab. A nice low and slow simmer.

Then it's done. And ready to be eaten with your dumplings.

Now personally I very much rather eat plain flour dumplings. It's my favorite. But there are so many other options.

Dumplings can be made from cornmeal, pumpkin, whole wheat, cassava, dasheen. So even though my recipe is just plain old flour dumplings, you are free to pair this with whichever version you prefer.

Pot of cooked blue crab

Just make sure they are nice and big. You gonna need to sap up that sauce.

Delicious plate of blue crab with flour dumplings

This curry crab (or crab curry depending on where you are from) is the perfect liming dish.

When in Tobago is it popularly sold at beach sides (check out Miss Trim's at Store Bay). It's also a found being served at harvest time.

Curry crab gundy

Seafood is your thing? 

Check out some of my other seafood recipes:

Recipe for Tobago curry crab and dumpling

Seafood, Crab, Dumplings, Tobago Food
Yield: Serves 6
Author: Renz @ HomeMadeZagat

Tobago Curry Crab and Dumplings

Tobago Curry Crab and Dumplings

Blue crab, cooked down in a curry sauce with coconut milk. Perfectly paired with boiled dumplings. A quintessential Tobago dish
prep time: 20 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 50 M


For Crab
  • 6 medium-sized blue crabs
  • 4 cups coconut milk (make your own)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped celery
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 blades scallion
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons curry and 2 tablespoons curry (for seasoning)
  • 1 hot pepper
  • 3 tablespoons green seasoning
For Dumplings
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon oil


How to cook Tobago Curry Crab and Dumplings

For Crab
  1. Clean crab (separate them into halves)
  2. Season crab with green seasoning and 2 tablespoons curry
  3. Heat oil in a heavy pot
  4. Saute garlic in hot oil
  5. Add curry powder and cook for a few minutes
  6. Add crab to pot and mix well with the curry
  7. Add coconut milk and allow the crab to cook for 10 minutes
  8. Add celery, onions, scallion, pepper and  add black pepper
  9. Add salt to taste
  10. Leave to cooking on a low heat for sauce to thicken
For Dumplings
  1. In a pot bring 4 cups water to boil with salt and oil
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Slowly add remaining water, while kneading with your hand
  3. Keep kneading till water is fully absorbed (if the dough is sticky add a little flour (about a tablespoon) at a time till the consistency is sticky
  4. Leave dough mixture to sit for a little (about five minutes)
  5. Separate dough into about 6 even pieces and form into balls
  6. Knead each ball into discs (or use a rolling pin)
  7. Add discs to boiling water and cook for 10 minutes


Some Caribbean supermarkets sell blue crab already killed and cleaned. Check your freezer area.

Use a toothbrush to get into the creases of the crab to clean it up
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Renz HomeMadeZagat
Renz HomeMadeZagat

Hi guys, I’m Renz. I am the chief cook and bottle washer here at HomeMadeZagat. I am here sharing Caribbean recipes that I grew up eating and new ones I’ve fallen in love with over the years. I just want to showcase the amazing diversity of Caribbean food and that everyone can recreate these dishes.


  1. Hmm... pumpkin dumplings? Never seen that one... can you give us a recipe for that too?

  2. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out.
    Please let me know where you got your design.

  3. after first reading I thought it's gonna so difficult
    but the result is amazing and delicious
    thank you for making it much mire easier for me

    1. Thank you Rabato!! That's my goal, for me to figure it out and make it easier for others.

  4. Am from the island and longing to cook some fried fish curry do you have a recipes.

    1. Hi. I actually am redoing a fried curry fish tomorrow. I'm using this recipe I have.

  5. I am Jamaican and I had this dish visiting Trinidad for a wedding. Loved it! It was the crabmeat was out of the shell in the curry sauce- can I do this with store bought crabmeat?

    1. Ahh yes. That is the fancy way to do it so that people don't have to do plenty work and mess up their hands to eat while they dressed nice haha. Yes you can use store bought BUT I don't find it tastes as good haha. For that way I would make the sauce first and let that start to simmer down and thicken up then add the meat in to finish up.


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