Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bengali Crab Curry

I have been scared of Crabs since childhood; never have been able to fathom how some people could dig into these clawed creatures.  Everyone in the family is fond of My Mother’s Crab Curry but being her daughter I have never tasted the dish.

During one of my trips back home, my best friend ever (D) took me to Flame & Grill as she wanted me to taste their exclusive Kebab platter, which had Crabs too. That was before the nuptial knot and as right afterwards we were heading for one of the beaches along the Indian Ocean, I had to give in to some other seafood besides my first love, Shrimps.  I tried the Crab Kebabs that they had made, and yes I did not have to shell them. The Kebabs tasted exotic & I fell for them instantly.

Since then, I have been planning to make some Crabs at home. However, I never got live Crabs here. I kept nagging about these clawed creatures to our dear Sagar, the best Fish Monger who caters to all our demands; God bless him. Last Saturday when we were out brunching, he called and informed that he has got live Crabs finally, we agreed right away. After a good nap in the afternoon, A rushed to get the Crabs, Sagar made sure I did not have any difficulty cleaning them up. He made sure they were inert, shelled and cleaned.

All I had to do was giving them one final wash and a quick call to Maa (My Mother) to get her recipe. She ended by a word of caution, ‘make sure you do not gulp down any pieces of the shell; else you might have to get hospitalized to get rid of the shells from your tummy’, she ended.

The best article I have come across to handle live Crabs was by Chitrangada on her beautiful blog Color and Spices and the post is here. Please refer to this if you do not have a blessing like Sagar in your life :)

Here is what you will need to make a very Bengali Crab Curry that my Maa makes:
Serves - 6

Crabs – 800 gms
Onion – 1 large – made into paste
Tomato – 2 medium – made into paste
Green Chillies – 5-6 – pasted with the Onions
Thick Coconut Milk – 1 Cup – I used one Dabur Hommade Tetra Pack (the one in the picture)

Cinnamon – 1” stick
Green Cardamoms – 4
Cloves – 4
Whole Dry Red Chillies – 2
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
Coriander Powder – ½ tsp
Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp to sprinkle on top
Salt to taste
Sugar to balance
Mustard Oil – 2tbsp


Marinate the washed Crabs in Turmeric Powder and Salt and keep for 30 minutes.

Heat Mustard Oil in a Kadhai and shallow fry the Crabs and keep aside. You will see fat from the seafood seperating; it will look like bits of scrambled Eggs on your Crabs after frying.

In the same Oil, add the Whole Dry Red Chillies, Cardamoms, Cinnamon and Cloves, let them sizzle for 30 seconds.
Add the Onion and Green Chilli Paste and fry till the Onions change color to a light brown.
Add the Tomato paste and a pinch of Sugar and cook for a few minutes.
Add the Cumin and Coriander Powder and cook for a few more minutes till the dry spices are cooked through.
Add the Coconut Milk, mix well and bring it to boil & simmer.
Add the Crabs and mix well. Let them cook. Add Salt to taste and mix. It took me about 20 minutes on simmer for the Crabs to cook. Adjust cooking time if needed.
The gravy should not be runny, again to your taste. Tastes best with minimal gravy.

Sprinkle some Garam Masala Powder when plated. 
Serve with steamed Rice.

P.S: I am eating that Crab Curry next time I am home for sure! :D

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