Fresh grated coconut is lightly roasted along with other spices and ground to a paste. Slices of onions are sauteed in oil till golden brown and combined with the ground paste. Live and cleaned crabs are stirred in along with some water. Simmered on medium heat till the crabs are cooked while the gravy thickens. The roasted spices impart a fragrant aroma while the brown onion and coconut provides the sweetness complementing the delicate flavour of the crab meat. This dish is an absolute delight to the taste buds.
When selecting crabs, go for heavy and live ones that are stored out of water. They move around less and are meatier. Male crabs have blue tips on their claws whereas the females have red tips. The male has a "V" abdominal flap whereas the female has a wide rounded flap to carry and protect the eggs. This flap is also known as the "apron".
Crab meat is delicate with a rich, sweet flavour. It is low in calories with no carbohydrates. A good source of omega-3 fatty acids, minerals and various antioxidant vitamins. High in protein, cholesterol and purines that contribute to your body producing unhealthy levels of uric acid. The latter two to be aware of while consuming crabs. Eating in moderation is key.
6 medium-sized crabs
1 large onion (sliced)
2 long green chillies (slit)
1 cup water
a pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons oil
Lightly dry roast and grind to a paste (with little water)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
5 dried Kashmiri red chillies
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
10 black whole peppercorns
4 large cloves of garlic
1/2" piece of ginger
1 tablespoon tamarind (not to be roasted)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (not to be roasted)
Break the claws and legs of the crabs. Detach the main shell off the crab and discard it. Remove the gills, soft insides and flap or apron at the back. Wash crab pieces (claws, legs, body) and season with salt.
Heat oil in a pan and saute the onion till golden brown. Stir in the ground paste and fry for a couple of minutes. Mix in the crab pieces and then add water (listed in the ingredients) after passing it through the blender used for grinding the paste. Add the green chillies and a pinch of sugar. Partially cover pan, simmer on medium heat till crabs cooked while gravy thickens. Check for seasoning.
Serve hot with rice.
- Substitute crabs with clams and grind roasted ingredients to a coarse paste. Add a tomato after onion is brown. Fry spice paste well and then, stir in the clams and green chillies. Do not add any water. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until clams are cooked. Add a pinch of sugar and salt, if needed. Fresh clams are usually salty, so use salt sparingly. Absolutely delicious!!!