Showing posts with label South Indian Cuisine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Indian Cuisine. Show all posts

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Crab Masala

Ingredients:
Crabs - 2 big size (dungeness crabs)
Vegetable oil - 1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tspn
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Water- 1 cup
Lemon juice- 2 tsp
Salt as per taste

For the Dry Masala:
Coriander seeds- 2 tbs
Cumin seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds-1tspn
Poppy seeds(white) - 2 tsp
Black pepper - 1tsp
Cloves - 10
Green cardamoms - 6 - 8
Dark Cinnamon - 2 inch stick

For the Wet Masala:
Fresh coconut sliced - 1 cup
Dried red chillies- 4-6 long
Curry leaves - 1/2 cup
Onions - 1 large
Garlic - 6 medium size cloves
Tomatoes - 2 large
Green chillies- 4-6
Cilantro - 1/2 a cup

How to make the Dry and Wet Masalas:
1. Roast the dry masala ingredients on a tawa (skillet) in a teaspoon of vegetable oil and then grind them fine. 
2. Add another tsp of oil to the tawa and fry the coconut slices with a few curry leaves. Drain, remove, then fry the poppy seeds carefully so as not to burn them, remove when they slightly change color.  Drain on paper towel and set aside. 
3. Now add a little more oil and fry the sliced onions with the dried red chillies and a few curry leaves. When the onions turn translucent, stir in the pounded garlic and slit green chillies and once you you get the aroma of garlic add the tomatoes, stir in a bit and then remove everything. 
4.Using a wet grinder dry grind the coconut slices first, then add a little water pulse one or two times before adding the other roasted wet masala ingredients to it along with the cilantro to make the wet masala paste.

Method:
1. Remove the shell from the crab, cut the legs at the joints, scrape the tiny hair on either side of the crab legs, clean well, rinse and set aside.
2. Pound the legs a bit or slit them with a knife carefully. This is done to make the masala seep inside when it is being cooked which makes the meat flavorful and juicy.
3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds, when they crackle add curry leaves followed by the wet masala paste, turmeric, red chilly powder and salt. Stir to roast the masala in the oil for sometime. 
4. Now add the dry ground masala and mix well. 
5. Throw in the crab and  turn over from time to time to coat with the masala well.
6. Pour 1 cup of water around the sides of the pot to wash away the masala sticking to the sides., mix well and let it simmer for 10 - 15 mins till you get a whiff of the aroma. At this stage the masala thickens and the oil rises to the top which means the crab is ready.
7.  Pour a little more water on the sides,  mix well so that it is neither too dry nor too runny but just right. Sprinkle a little lemon juice and adjust the salt to taste. Garnish with chopped coriander and lemon wedges. Serve hot with boiled rice or hoppers. Enjoy.

Tips:

1. Toasting the coconut pieces evenly in the oil and grinding them and the whole spices slightly coarse gives a good texture as well as added flavour and taste. 
2. Remove the seeds from the tomatoes before roasting them.  Use vine or plum tomatoes for their tangy sweet taste.
3. Clean the crab legs by scraping the sides which have dark spots and a thin film of hair. 
4. Cut the body of the crab into 4 quarters and not more. With smaller pieces there's hardly any flesh left when cooked. 
5. For those who like it less hot, reduce the quantity of chillies or you may use whole green chillies instead of grinding them with the masala.
 6. Follow the exact proportions and instructions as given in the recipe and you will be really happy with the outcome. I have been making this all my life and everybody just loves it.