Thursday, 9 December 2010

Curried Crab

Have you ever had curried crab? I cannot explain the deliciousness of curried crab in dry words. It's s small freshwater crab, that is sautéd and then cooked with light spices in a thick gravy, the sautéd shell letting in the gravy to flavour the slightly-sweet white meat. It. is. wonderful! It's a pity I'm scared of live crabs (my parents or cook does the killing and dividing), or I'd have bought them from Chinatown in loads!

What you need:
One small crab per person. This will yield two large pincers, one, um, whatever the central body part is, and six narrow lesser 'legs'.
One small red onion.
One small (plum) tomato.
Ginger, pasted. Garlic too, but it's optional.
Cumin and coriander powdered or pasted fresh.
Lots of groun black pepper -- essential!

Wash and set out the crabs to dry. They will look quite creepy. Ignore your gut. If they're still alive, keep them in hot water for a while (like you'd cook lobsters, but minus the boiling).

When dried, rub them with turmeric and salt. Sauté or shallow-fry in a wok till the shell turns bright orangish and white. Drain and keep aside.

Now do the same fryin/draining routine with halved or quartered potatoes. Grate the onion so it yields a slighly watery, pungent paste. Chop the tomatoes till they're tiny. Don't throw away the soft cores. Scoop them and keep them in a bowl/saucer, if that helps with the chopping.

Now, in the same wok, heat a little more oil, if needed. Add the pasted ginger (and garlic, if using). Fry them till they change colour and start smelling fried. Then add the grated onion and stir quickly over high till it slowly starts smelling fried as well. Them add the tomatoes, and the soft cores if you've kept it separate. Add salt. On high, keep stirring till everything mixes well together and forms a oniony, gingery, tomatoey paste and the tomatoes are no longer raw (their colour will change to a darker red). Lower the flame. If using coriander and cumin powder, mix them with a little water to make a paste and add the paste to this mixture. Top with as much sugar as you prefer. Again, fold the entire thing in well. If you like your food super spicy, this is the time to add red chilli powder or chopped green chilies.

Now add the potatoes and fold in well. Do the same with the crab. Cook on medium for about three or four minutes to let the flavours seep in. Keep stirring so the bottom doesn't char.

Then, add enough water to submerge half the crab(s). Cover, simmer and cook for about twenty minutes, or till potatoes are completely tender.

Turn off the flame. Liberally pour ground black pepper over the curry. Mix it in while the curry is still red-hot. Cover again and keep the pot till it's time to serve. Best accompaniment, white rice :-)


therapy said...

Oh my. sigh. My favourite.

I wonder if this will make me red and blue and green as well. *sniff*

Anonymous said...

i cant cook such creepy things.
how cud you?
stick to fish.


Rimi said...

N--mine too. I love, love freshwater crab. You won't believe how the supply has dropped hereabouts, though. What's it like in Bombay?

S--fish, when one can have crab? I think not.

Dea-chan said...

Too bad Mister is DEATHLY allergic to crab. Crab is one of my favorite things. But I just eat it steamed, cracked open, and dipped in melted butter. OM NOM NOM. That's how my dad always did it, and I'm nothing if not a good copyist. :-P

But yeah -- I'm equally afraid of them outside of the dish. I dunno as I'd be able to handle it...

Abhishek Mukherjee said...

Just think - there exist heathens who prefer to have crabmeat instead, that too on salads. Isn't that a perfect example of blasphemy?

Bneche thak.

Rimi said...

Dea-chan--Yeah, L. always made lobsters that way, and absolutely refused to let me try the curried version. And he threatened to let the live lobsters loose on me if I tried :D

Abhishek--ashirbaad grohon korlam :D Crabmeat aekti otee baaje jinish, Banglaye jaake bole thaardclass. Tai dewa salad ami khai ni kokhono, tobe ei boro boro crabmeat er slab dekhe ami jante cheyechhilam aek Thai restauranter er kachhe, kon crab eto boro hoy. Tini heshe bolechhilen "crabmeat" is a mixture of 'crab essence' (khodaye maloom ki cheez) with cheap white fish.

Bojho kando! kNakra bole machh khawachhe. Uporokto S er khushi howar kotha.

Dea-chan said...

And if you don't check the replies to your comments, three points:

-- a blondie is like a brownie, only not brown. It's just a variation on the bar cookie.

-- citrus fruits break down dead skin cells enzymically -- which is what meat is. So it breaks it down, and allows your oil to get in there and make it all nommy.

-- What's the difference between a farm pig and a wild boar? Three days in the wilderness (they're not fully domesticated).

Dea-chan said...

Oh, and all of those posts that you commented on? All were written yesterday. :-P I just posted 5 times.

Rimi said...

I love point three! Hahaha! You're right. Those buggers can never be fully domesticated.

Magically Bored said...

I love crabs. One of my earliest childhood memories is seeing this male domestic help (who used to work with us then), killing crabs in this huge tub of water. The crabs were huge. Or maybe they weren't - maybe I was just small. Whatever - crabs are delicious!

Rimi said...

YEah, in my didurbari, where the number of people were much more than our three, the crabs were also kept in a big tub of water, and yes, I was tiny and they did seem huge!