Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Adventures with "Cancer pagurus"

I know it has been a while since I wrote anything but for a long time either there was nothing worth writing about or i was drowning at work so, couldn't get to it.
As thanksgiving approaches, activity in the kitchen kicks up a notch. Starting with Halloween, all the way till Christmas, I start experimenting with various recipes.
For Halloween, my kitchen activity was limited to sweet dishes.
I went with meringue ghosts, chocolate truffles and oatmeal raisin/cranberry cookies.

All that aside, I discovered a whole new joy, malayali crab curry! I got the recipe from my mother in law. I must say she is quite fearless when it comes to sea food. I walked into Lions (local super market) with her and cringed when I saw giant glass boxes filled with crawling lobsters, fish and crabs. Anything with more than 4 legs makes me nervous. I almost fainted when the guy behind the counter grabbed a crab that mummy picked out from inside the tank. The 6 legs moved all over the place and the man skillfully kept his hands safe.

As the man dealt with the crab, cleaning it, cutting it up and packing it up, I thought of Julie and Julia when the Julie tried to cook lobster. Once i got over the initial feelings for the crab now sitting neatly packed on my kitchen counter, things were easy. Getting over the fear, and the general want to not touch it was not easy. Several minutes of staring, poking, spraying with water to make sure that the chopped up crab was indeed dead - and then I was ready to cook it.

The process of cooking was very rewarding. The chopping of the onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies resulting in a full minute of blurred vision, the saute process when the whole kitchen smells like heaven, the maturing of the masala and finally the addition of the crab. After 3 whistles from my trusted pressure cooker, my tiny apartment smelled like my aunt's place in Kollam (the smell of vacation) .

The whole crab vanished in 2 meals as Arvind and I attacked it.

The next chance I got, I bought more crab and surprisingly this time too I spend a lot of time convincing myself that it is truly dead.
I repeated the same recipe with slightly different components. First time i got raw blue crab with kashmiri chillie powder. This time i tried with pre-cooked wild crab and regular red chillie powder. It turned out much better (more meat, more heat).

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