Friday, November 21, 2008

The only way crabs are meant to be cooked

Growing up in Dubai, the beaches yielded plenty crabs and clams. All that has changed now as the crabs and clams have dwindled thanks to all that construction that has been eating up the beaches. Back then, when I was a child, the relatives would get together and head out to the beach for an all day and all night beach BBQ event. You haven't experienced the ultimate BBQ until you've hung around us. Orange tarps were put up to shade us from the hot desert sun, little floatable rafts were blown up for us kids to chill in out in the ocean and tandoori chicken, lamb sheek kabobs and marinated pork would be grilling on those old time wood/coal fire grills. We kids were also taught how to dig up for clams. Well, we had to earn our keep, right? Along with our moms, we'd haul in buckets of clams by the end of the day. And once night fell, the head honchos would head out to catch crabs, blue Dubai crabs, as seen HERE. It was very important that this night was a 'No Moon' night, as it was called - because that's when the crabs come out to eat. And buckets of them, our fathers would catch. At the end of the night everything would be divided equally and as soon as we got home, Mom would cook up the clams and crabs in a coconut curry. DELICIOUS! When we moved to Canada, we didn't really eat crabs for a long time, until I found the very same blue crabs in Chinatown and since then we've been inviting those blue crabs to join us at the table.

Here in North America, it's the Alaskan King Crab that is popular. And while the North American way of cooking crabs is very different, and by different I mean devoid of spices, it's true that you haven't tasted crab until you've had it in a coconut curry. What I don't like about the King Crab legs i
s that they come partially cooked and laid on ice and that's no way to go. In my opinion, the best way to cook crab is to add it to that coconut curry when it's raw. In my experience, it tastes better when it's cooked from scratch. I made the Goan/Mangalorean Coconut Crab Curry with King Crab legs here a little while ago, for Hubby's birthday. It was delicious and tasted even better the next day (which is normally the case for crabs when cooked this way). As my childhood friend, Pedro asked me the details on the birthday meal, I began to think about the King Crab legs. They're pretty long and meaty and this left me wondering, what does the actual King Crab look like and what is done with the rest of it. A little bit of research via Google Images, yielded me THIS! And as I went through the images I sent over this particular one to Pedro, he like I was dumbfounded. He more so, because he called over all his co workers who were 'pouring in' to look at it. I am not sure if my family or friends back in India or Dubai have actually seen the King Crab before and so to them I say, check out the King Crab. It's crab like you have never seen before.

My version of the
Goan/Mangalorean Coconut Crab Curry. If you do end up trying this out, email me and let me know how yours turned out.
5 medium blue crabs (preferably raw), each about 500 g OR 1
½ lb of King Crab Legs.
½ cup of water
50 g Tamarind pulp (available @ at Kirk's Supermarket/Grand Cayman in the Indian Foods section).
2 teaspoons Ginger-Garlic paste
1½ teaspoons red Chili Powder or Paprika (optional)
2 teaspoons ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Garam Masala and/or All
2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
150 g Onions, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon Salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon Black Pepper, or to taste
300 ml Coconut Milk
2 Scallions (green onions)

If you're using the whole Blue Crab: cut each crab into 4 or 5 pieces (snap off legs, and cut the body in half once the shell has been removed and the small stomach sac behind the mouth and the inedible grey feathery gills are removed). Rinse under cold water to clean.

If you're using King Crab Legs (preferably raw & fresh): cut off the spiky points on the leg as these are very sharp. Run your fingers over the legs to ensure no sharp bits have been left behind. Rinse under cold water.

Heat up Coconut Oil and add Onions & sauté them until softened and light brown.
Add ginger garlic paste, cumin, garam masala or all spice (or both!) and red chili powder (optional) & sauté gently for 3-4 minutes.
Add ½ cup of water, tamarind pulp and salt. Bring to a simmer then add the coconut milk and simmer again.
Finally add the crabs and simmer for about 5 - 8 minutes until cooked.
Add chopped scallions at the end after the heat has been turned off.
Serve with rice.
A chilled fruity white wine is a great compliment with this meal. Chilled beer may also be served.


Anonymous said...

Ms. Cute,

I wonder if you would be so kind to post your recipe for you Coconut Crab? If it would be no trouble!

Thank you!

Rev Island said...

Lawd, you trying to make my drool on myself. Wikid food, cutes.

Nikhat said...

Sounds YUMMY Ms. Cute Pants

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ms. Cute!!!! :) We are just an hour north of Toronto! I'll hopefully try and get this together over the weekend and post how it turned out! Sometimes, the fancy stuff (tamarind pulp) can be hard to find but I have a couple of stores up my sleeve! Thank again! Love the blog!

bermudabluez said...

I'm SOOOOO behind on blogging and reading!!! This sounds terrific!!

indicaspecies said...

Wow, this is a delicious recipe! Yes, some wine or beer would go perfect with it.

Good to catch up on your blog, and thank you for your visit to mine. Cheers!

ZenDenizen said...

Maybe I need to find some imitation crab meat (the kind they put in sushi rolls) and try this :)


Zen: I am not sure cause for me, Imitation crab is only good for in Chinese Corn & Crab Soup! But you lemme know that turns out.