Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Crab Xacuti Goan Crab Curry

Can you actually believe that I always try plan my food accordingly? For example, the garbage collection in my neighborhood is every Friday, so if I want to eat durian, or serve shelled sea food, or whole fish for dinner, I would actually do it on Thursday. When we are finish eating it, I'd wrap tightly the shells, skins, bones, head, or whatever inedible leftover into plastic, then throw it out in my garbage bin. The next morning, the garbage man will come and collect the whole thing, and I don't have that fishy smell around the property. It is kind of silly me, because if I want to serve this to, say, my guests on the weekend, I'd be so stress out to think about how smelly it would be. That is just me. Now, how about fish sauce, and terasi (belachan) which can be very fishy as well? Ok, with fish sauce I always make sure that the bottle close properly then store and hide it well in my pantry, as for the terasi (belachan), I always stre it in airtight jar , you know, one those canning jar. How about chicken bones, or meat bones? For meat bone is easy, I just give it to my pretty dog. Chicken bones, I am not sure why, but somehow this things don't bother me that much. Pretty odd, isn't it?

This crab xacuti is another crab curry that becoming so popular in my family. The other favorite is the Srilankan style that I make on a regular basis. The one I posted today is a little milder then the Srilankan crab curry. Don't worry about the amount of red jalapeno listed on the ingredients. This is a mild chili compare to Thai chili that I would normally use. If you still think it would be too spicy for your palate, seeded and discard the white membranes, then proceed to next step. Also, if you worry about burning your hand, coat your hand with a little vegetable oil before you do this, or wear a surgical gloves.

Crab Xacuti, Goan Crab Curry
Adapted from Charmaine Solomon's Encyclopedia of Asian Food
In my family this curry serve 4

2½ pounds King crab (just the legs and the claws)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
10 fungreek seeds
10 whole black peppercorn
4 whole cloves
4 whole cardamom pods
1 tablespoon white poppy seeds
½ cup freshly grated coconut*
2 large onion, diced, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

6 large red jalapeno, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
a bunch of curry leaves
5 - 10 small green chilies
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbs vegetable oil
tamarin juice**
13.5 fl oz coconut milk
½ - 1 cup water (depending how thick you want your curry)
salt, to taste

  • Prepare the crabs by braking the shell gently in random places with the back of your knife. This will ensure that the curry sauce penetrate the meat, and also making it easier to eat or open the shell.

  • Set a skillet over low heat, add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, funegreek seeds, whole black peppercorns, whole cloves, and whole cardamom pods. Keep stirring and roast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Return the skillet to the stove, add white poppy seeds, stirring continuously until golden. Transfer to a food processor. Return the skillet back to the stove, add grated coconut, keep stirring until the coconut is golden brown, transfer to a food processor. Return the skillet back to the stove, turn the heat to medium, add 1 tablespoon oil, saute half of the onion until soft, add garlic, ginger, roughly chopped jalapeno. Stir and saute until fragrant. Transfer to a food processor. Process the whole thing to make a smooth coconut - spice paste mixture, add a little water if necessary to make it easier to process.

  • Set a large pot over medium heat, add the remaining oil. Add the remaining diced onion, to the pot, fry until the onion is soft and the raw smell is gone, add the coconut-spiced paste mixture, turmeric powder, curry leaves, green chilies, and the cinnamon stick, fry while keep stirring continuously for about a minute or two. Add the crabs, tamarin juice, and water, season with salt, give it another stir, then cover the pot, let it cook for 10 minutes. Uncover the pot, add coconut milk, stir and taste to see if need more salt. Turn the heat to low, continue to cook for 5 minute more. Serve with steam basmati rice.

* you can also use frozen grated coconut, available at Asian store. Thaw according to package direction
** to make tamarin juice, mix well 1 tbs fresh tamarin and ¼ cup water, strain the juice and discard the solid.

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