The Big Boys Curry Book

Crab Papad Rolls

Goats idling away the time in the backwaters

This surprisingly simple recipe comes from one of Pat Chapman's books. He in turn got it from a Goan chef called Alice. Whilst the original recipe was invented as a way of using up stale cooked papads (pappadums), I have found that I never have any of those in my house so experimented with fresh uncooked ones. Close to where I live, the excellent Shakti brand of papads are made, and we can get these really fresh so they are still limp. Try to get as fresh as you can but do not worry too much.This recipe calls for plain papads, but you can (and should) experiment with different flavoured ones and also with the fillings, replacing the crab with cooked meat or chicken, vegetables (raw or cooked). Note also that my recipe variation uses tinned crab meat. You can of course use fresh! This will serve 4 people as a starter


  • 5 medium to large fresh papads
  • small tin cooked crab meat (about 120gr dry weight), drained
  • 1 tblspn. fine chopped white onion
  • 1 tspn. mild curry powder
  • 1 tblspn. chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tblspn. thick mayonnaise (Hellmann's or other quality brand)
  • Salt to taste (but note if your crab is in brine, then you probably do not need any)
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying


  1. Mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl (i.e. everything bar papads and oil)
  2. Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning to taste
  3. Soak each papad (only 4 of them) in turn in a large bowl of water for 15 seconds (if very fresh, or longer if not) to ensure the papad is limp. Dry briefly on kitchen roll.
  4. Take 1/4 of filling mixture and create a filled roll with the papad. Tuck over one end and then two sides, roll it up to form a sealed parcel.
  5. Place on dry (floured) surface whilst you prepare the others.
  6. Heat oil until very hot.
  7. Tear one of the papads into pieces and test fry to makes sure that it cooks within seconds. Fry remaining piece of papad to 'season' the pan.
  8. Drop 2 rolls into the oil at a time. Fry briefly one side then turn over. Finished rolls should be light golden. Work quickly to avoid burning the papads.
  9. Drain on kitchen paper whilst you cook remaining rolls.
  10. Serve immediately, perhaps on a bed of lettuce with a sweet chilli sauce.

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