Lau Kankra – Crab with Bottle Gourd Curry

A bit unusual recipe it is, ‘Lau’ or bottle gourd and ‘kankra’ or crab is individually quite familiar in Bengali Household. However ‘Lau Chingri’ or Bottle gourd shrimp curry is more common and popular dish as compared to ‘Lau Kankra’. This is cooked exactly the way ‘Lau Chingri’ is cooked. You may cut the bottle gourd as bite size pieces, or chop them finely the way I did it. Keep it a bit juicy and enjoy with plain rice on a lazy weekend.


  • Crabs – 3
  • Bottle gourd – 2 cups, chopped
  • Fenugreek / Methi seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Kalonji / Kalojeere – 1/2 tsp
  • Dry red chili – 2
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Kashmiri chili powder – 1 tsp
  • green chili – 2, ( optional)
  • Tomato – 1, make a paste with little water
  • Salt, turmeric – as required
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Mustard oil

Clean the crab thoroughly. Mine was small one so I kept the crab body and claws whole. You may cut it into pieces, if it is too big. Rub salt and turmeric and keep aside.
Heat mustard oil. Now add the fenugreek, kalonji, bayleaf and whole red chili. Let it splutter then add the crab pieces and saute quickly.

Add chopped gourd with a pinch of salt, and turmeric. Mix well with crab. Bottle gourd should release lot of water, if you still need it, add very little and let it cook in its own juices.

Add kashmiri chili powder and slit green chili, if using and mix well.

Cook covered over very low flame till the gourd and crab is cooked and water reduced to half. Puree one tomato with little water and add to the gourd. Mix well. Let it simmer over low heat for some more time. When water is totally reduced and oil comes out of gravy, add the sugar. Adjust seasoning.

Garnish with chopped spring onion and serve with plain rice.

sending this post for Kolkata Food Bloggers’ Durga Pujo special event: