I do most of the menu planning and ordering at Tamil Feasts. Each day, we have a discussion about what the menu is for that night and how many people we need to cook for. I often speak to my wife who is in Sri Lanka to ask her for advice on the recipes.
We cook up different curries, dahl, salad, rice, chutney, sambal and of course, the favourite, pappadums. We are very busy all night serving and meeting people. We have many volunteers who come in and help, and many have become close friends!
This crab curry is great for dinner or lunch – we typically have a big lunch in Sri Lanka but in Australia, I think this one might be better for dinner!
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 blue swimmer crabs, cleaned
1 large red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp cardamom pods
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
5 fresh curry leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp mild curry powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp turmeric
1 tin coconut milk
2 tbsp tamarind
salt to taste
Heat oil in a large stock pot, over high heat.
Add the mustard seeds, cumin, fennel, garlic, cardamom pods, onion – cook for a couple of minutes until the onion has softened.
Add the fresh curry leaves, cinnamon stick, then the curry powder, half of the cumin powder and turmeric. Season with salt.
Stir well and then pour in the coconut milk.
Add the cleaned crabs and cover with a lid. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine tamarind and ½ a cup of water and allow to soak, before squeezing together in your hand to extract the juice.
Add the tamarind liquid (not pulp) and remaining cumin powder and turmeric.
Cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve with rice, and a cold beer!
How can you support Tamil Feasts?
‘Come along and enjoy a delicious feast, bring your friends, meet the guys and welcome them into the community! Sign up to volunteer and learn how to make the best curry in town,’ welcomes project coordinator Emma McCann.
‘Each night one of the men will share their own personal stories with our diners. They also love visiting tables and chatting with people about everything and anything. Through food and sharing their stories, they are breaking down barriers.’
Run by not-for-profit CERES, Tamil Feasts are very popular and bookings are essential. Check out the website for more information.
Tamil Feasts‘ chefs preparing a meal for an event. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
The Tamil Feasts team: chefs Niro, Nirma, project coordinator Emma McCann, and chefs Richman and Nigethan. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
The hero ingredient: blue swimmer crabs! Surface from The Establishment Studios and napery from Mr Draper. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.
Niro in the Kitchen at The Merri Table. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.
Nigethan from Tamil Feasts‘ impressive Crab Curry. Surface from The Establishment Studios and napery from Mr Draper. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.