My Husband's Special Crab Curry
I first tasted crab in Goa when I was well into my mid-twenties. It was actually a stuffed crab where you just had to lift the ‘lid’ (shell) and eat the shredded crab meat. “Then you have not tasted a real crab,” said whoever came to know of it. Apparently, you had to break the shell with a cracker, scoop out the meat with a long thin instrument and then savour it. That is how you should eat a crab in the real sense (in a civilized manner).
I remember sitting at Mahesh Lunch Home in Juhu (Mumbai) with my sis when we saw a waiter carrying two huge crabs, their pincers tied with twine, going up to another table. He presented them to the guests for size approval and went back to the kitchen after they had made their choice. We had stared goggle-eyed at the process. “Eww! How can anyone have those things?” Sis and I had shuddered. Crabs looked so menacing then!
Circa 2011, I am to be found sitting at the dining table, concentrating hard at breaking open the crab shell with my teeth and carefully wiggling out the meat with my fingers and the end of a spoon. I feel disappointed at not being able to take out the meat neatly, some of it still lodged inside the claws. Finally, I look with satisfaction at the mountain of broken shells on my plate.
So, yes, I am a changed person today. Kindly blame my husband for that. And his crab curry.
I must admit that even though I love crab now, I have never been able to cook it myself. It still looks a bit foreboding to me. But then, why do I have to worry when I have such an excellent crab cook at home, who does the whole job all by himself? The guy brings the crab home, cleans it, chops it and then makes an amazing curry out of it. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, here is my husband’s Special Crab Curry.
Special Crab Curry
4 medium sized crab, cleaned and chopped into halves
2 large onions, ground to a paste
2-3 potatoes, quartered
2 green chillies, slit lengthwise (or chopped, if you wish)
2 tablespoon tomato puree (or 1 tomato, chopped)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger-garlic paste
½ teaspoon each of turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, Kashmiri Mirch powder (or red chilli powder, if you want more heat) and Garam Masala (optional)
1 inch stick of cinnamon
2 green cardamoms
Vegetable oil for cooking and deep-frying
1 teaspoon sugar
1 heaped tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Smear the quartered potatoes with a little turmeric powder and salt and deep fry them till they are almost cooked and golden. Keep aside.
Now, heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok and let the cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamoms crackle. Add the onion paste, green chillies and the ginger-garlic paste and sauté till the mixture assumes a brown colour. Sprinkle some water if it sticks to the bottom of the wok.
Next, mix the spice powders with a little water in a bowl and tip the paste into the wok. Stir well.
When the spices are cooked, spoon in the tomato puree and blend well with the spice. Now, carefully slide in the crab pieces and the fried potatoes. Stir well and fry for some time.
Then, pour 2-3 cups of water (or the amount you want your curry to be) and let it come to a gentle boil. Season with salt, pepper and a spoonful of sugar. Cover the vessel and let the curry simmer for around 5-8 minutes in low heat, or till the crab pieces are cooked.
Remove the lid, add a generous dollop of ghee and take the vessel off the gas. Serve hot alongside some steamed rice or any bread of your choice.
I love this home-made crab curry much more than any other crab dishes I tried in restaurants. Somehow, most crab curries in restaurants seem to be over laden with spices and in some cases, coconut, so much so that it completely douses the flavor of the crab. Maybe one day I will try cooking this myself and try adding some twists to it. How about you? How do you like to have a crab? Do let me know!