As a Punjabi, I usually fail to understand the beauty of a Fish. As a community, we are not known for our great Fish making skills. While Bengalis, Maharashtrians, Goans, Keralites and even Kashmiri’s have a vast repertoire of exotic Fish curries in their culinary heritage, the only thing we are known for is “Amritsari Fish.” Which, let’s face it is not the best thing to do these delicate beauties.
While I lament the lack of fish making skills that we possess, we are completely flummoxed with Shellfish. And if the Shellfish is something like the mighty Crab, you have already lost our attention, and we have lost our will to cook. Also, let’s admit that cleaning a Crab is not the easiest thing to do and then at the end of the day after all the effort you make to cook Crabs, the quantity of Meat that you get in return is just dismal. I mean why bother, cleaning, cutting, grinding the masala and then cooking a Crab, when you can marinate a Chicken, stick it in a Tandoor and have a Patiala peg while it does its thing.
If you are in India, you always get your local Macchiwali (Fishmonger) to clean and cut the crabs for you. But here in Sydney, you cannot expect the fishmongers to do it. They just don’t have that sort of time for you. You either buy entire Crab or settle for a tin of Crabmeat from the supermarket aisle. Now I am not a girl who gives up on a Fish, just because it is laborious to cook. So with some anticipation and a lot of perspiration, I brought Crabs for the first time and proceeded to not just clean them, but cut them and cook them.
As I watched my very posh husband, who even eats a Burger with a knife and fork, lick his fingers coated with the masala, enjoying the whole process of eating the Crabs, I had to kiss my own fingers with happiness.
Recipe (Cooking time 60 minutes, Serves 3 – 4 depending on the size of the Crabs)
1 Kg Freshwater Crabs (I brought Blue Swimmer, which are easily available in Sydney)
¾ Cup Desiccated Coconut (you can also buy frozen desiccated Coconut from Indian stores and thaw and use)
2 medium sized Onions roughly chopped
3 Tomatoes roughly chopped
3 – 4 Green Chilies
3 Garlic Cloves
4 – 5 pieces of Kokum (Available in Indian shops)
1 tsp red chili powder
1 ½ tsp Tumeric powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
Salt to taste
3 – 4 tsp Vegetable Oil
Freshly chopped green Coriander
Prepping the Crabs
Making the Masala
Note: If you don’t have Kokum, sprinkle some Lemon Juice before serving the Crabs.