Crab Sukka/Dhenji Ajadhina

How to make Crab Sukka,the Mangalorean way ?

What is Crab Sukka/”Dhenji Ajadhina”?

Crab Sukka, otherwise known as Dhenji Ajadhina in *Tulu is a semi dry gravy. Crab sukka/Dhenji Ajadhina is a recipe made with cleaned and cooked crab (with or without shell) where masala and coconut is added to the crab meat.

*Tulu is the native language spoken in the coastal town of Mangalore, in the state of Karnataka, India.

What does “Sukka” mean?

Sukka” in Tulu (a language spoken in the coastal city of Mangalore ,in South India) means a semi dry gravy. Another Tulu word to represent a semi-dry gravy is “Ajadhina”.

Crab Sukka/Dhenji Ajadhina

The face of winter and comfort food

The face of the landscape has changed with the snow, it is awash with white snowflakes.Winter always makes one homesick.A need to eat something comforting, something that reminds you of familiar feelings , something that makes home feel a little closer was the need of the hour.

Heading towards the Korean market, my mind full of fresh seafood that is available there.When I think of seafood suddenly the winter cold doesn’t seem to bother me. Walking thru the tubs of sea food, I get to pick what I like. Sure enough, crabs were my first choice having been fond of them since childhood.

A flashback in time

Memories of laughter & cheer flood my thoughts, as my mind races to a time in the past. Sitting at the long dining table amidst cousins, cracking our crab shells with eyes closed was an unspoken contest of sorts.The crab shells would fly everywhere in our tiny hands & so did the spices that coated them.We did not stop till we hit the crab meat, then there was a moment of silence. Then joy again while we dug into our food.

Crab Sukka/Dhenji Ajadhina
How to make Crab Sukka the Mangalorean way ?

How to eat crab “sukka” the traditional way?

Eating crab the traditional way , was not for the faint hearted.Getting hands messy with crab meat & masala(spices) was a given. Runny nose due to the potent spices was part of the deal. Perseverance to get to the crab meat against all odds is a mark of being the true daughter/son of the soil.

What food to pair Crab “sukka” with?

With all these happy memories floating in my mind, I headed back home with a bag full of crabs to cook. Cleaned them and set them on the stove to cook with all the masala(spices). One can savor this preparation with Idli’s (steamed Indian rice dumplings) or have it with plain yogurt rice, either way they are a hit.One can have them with variety rice like Lemon rice, Zucchini rice , Green Peas Pulao too!

How to make Crab Sukka,the Mangalorean way ?

How to make Crab Sukka,the Mangalorean way ?

Recipe by Maya Shetty
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Prep time


Cooking time




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  • For Frying you need
  • Coconut Oil

  • Coriander seeds

  • 10 -12 Dry Red chilies

  • 10 -12 Pepper Corns

  • 5 -6 Fenugreek seeds/Methi

  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)

  • 1 large Onion

  • 6 -8 Garlic

  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

  • Main Ingredients
  • 10 -12 Crabs

  • 1/2 large Onion Finely Sliced

  • 1/2 tsp Tamarind paste

  • 3/4 cup Coconut shredded (fresh or desiccated)

  • Salt to taste


  • Clean the crabs. Rinse them well under cold running water a few times.Set aside.
  • In a pan/ wok, heat some oil & then add the ingredients meant for fry one by one until they turn a golden brown.Once fried, place them in a blender & make a smooth paste after adding some tamarind paste into the mix.
  • In the same wok, add the rest of the onions & saute it for a few minutes until it turns brown. Next add the ground masala/paste to it, with a little water.Now gently add the cleaned crabs to the mix , add salt to taste & cover with the lid.Allow it to cook for 10- 15 minutes, until the crab is completely soaked in the masala & has absorbed most of it.
  • When the spices are well absorbed into the cooked crab and the preparation appears dry, it is time to sprinkle some shredded coconut on top. Stir well & remove from stove.
  • Serve hot with Idli’s or yogurt rice or rice and rasam.


  • Crab Sukka /Dhenji Ajadhina is an authentic dish from the coastal city of Mangalore in South India, which I am a native of.
  • A favorite among sea food lovers, goes well with Idli’scurd rice, brown rice & rasam. It is a perfect dish with some of the south Indian variety rice dishes like Lemon rice too.
  • Crab meat is a flavorful, low fat high protein food that works well in a healthy diet plan for meat eaters.

Nutrition Facts

6 servings per container

  • Amount Per ServingCalories291
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 6g 10%
    • Saturated Fat 3g 15%
  • Cholesterol 160mg 54%
  • Sodium 806mg 34%
  • Potassium 1064mg 31%
  • Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
    • Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
    • Sugars 3g
  • Protein 48g 96%

  • Vitamin A 5%
  • Vitamin C 17%
  • Calcium 14%
  • Iron 6%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Some of the links to my published sea food recipes are listed below for your interest :

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