How to cut and clean crabs for Indian curry / recipes?

how to cut and clean crabs

In this post, I provide detailed instructions with photos and a video about how to cut and clean crabs for curry, sukha masala and shallow fry. The method I have shared in this post is how we clean the crabs at my home in Goa. You can watch our video on ‘how to cut and clean crabs at home‘ here.

In Goa, we call crabs as ‘kullyo’ in Konkani. In different parts of India crabs are called by different names like kurli, khekade, chimbori, nandu, peethala, yedikayi, jenji, njandu, etc. But the process followed in cutting and cleaning the crabs in various parts of India is almost similar.

Anxiety of cleaning crabs

Crabs taste absolutely delicious and are a must have whenever one visits coastal areas and seafood restaurants. Many of us prefer eating crabs at restaurants against making delicious recipes at home only because we are scared or unaware of the cleaning process. It does seem a little tricky and scary to cut and clean these mighty creatures who run all over the place pretty quick.

Crab cut and clean trick

But the trick here is to break those big pincers or claws first. Cutting and cleaning the rest of the crab is very simple thereafter. Most of the times we can get the big pincers broken when we buy the crabs in local markets/supermarkets. At home, you can lay the crab on its back and press it firmly down with one hand and then quickly twist and break the legs with the other hand. The big pincers need to be broken first followed by the thinner legs.

We also need to remove any greyish or brownish matter from the body of the crab. This will eliminate any bad taste or smell when you cook your dish. The crabs also need to be cleaned well under running water before using them in any recipe.

You might also like to check our Goan style crab curry recipe.

how to cut and clean crabs
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins


  • Crabs


  • Take a crab and place it upside down on its shell on a plate or a surface.
    how to cut and clean crabs
  • Keep the crab pressed down with one hand and break the legs with your other hand. Twist each leg to break it off. Keep the legs aside.
  • On the lower side, you will see a triangular shaped portion of the shell. Pull it open, break it off and discard.
    how to cut and clean crabs
  • Turn the crab so that the hard shell is facing upwards. Take a stone and hit the shell and break it.
  • Pull the shell apart and separate it from the crab meat. Discard the shell.
    how to cut and clean crabs
  • Remove the greyish portion on the top of the crab meat and discard.
    how to cut and clean crabs
  • Remove the orange coloured part and keep it aside. You can add this to the crab curry.
    how to cut and clean crabs
  • Cut the crab into half. Remove and greyish or brown dirt. Keep the crab pieces aside.
  • Take a bigger crab leg having the sharp pincers/claw. Place it on a block of wood. Hit the sharp pointed end with a stone. Discard the sharp pointed pieces.
  • Break the shell along the leg with a stone. Break it such that you can easily remove the hard shell with your hand while eating the crab.
    how to cut and clean crabs
  • Breaking the leg allows the leg meat to absorb the curry flavours and makes it easy to eat the meat. Keep the broken legs aside.
  • Take the thinner legs of the crab. Twist and break the sharp pointed portion and discard.
  • Break the legs into smaller pieces along the joints. Keep aside.
  • Wash all the crab pieces well under running water.
  • The cleaned crabs are ready for cooking.
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