CRAB SUKKA /MASALA
The snow is softly falling outside,the earth seems to be washed in white,suddenly the landscape changes into a beautiful white.When I step out and breathe in the freshness,something inside me tells me its time for something juicy,spicy & delicious and my car seems to have a mind of its own.The Korean Market seems to beckon me with its sea world charms and me drawn to it like a magnet.I find myself looking at these snow crabs with utter glee, while the lady beside me is selecting her “frog legs”.I try to keep my focus on the crab legs,lest I loose track of my gastronomic pursuit & head out back home with a song on my lip.
Memories of childhood float by as I drive slowly through the falling snow, of us as children ,cousins and all sitting across a table cracking our crab shells & biting through its deliciousness.Loud voices, laughter & giggles,all hands on the plate, happy & messy faces,sometimes we follow directions from elders to close our eyes while cracking those shells, lest we get some flying pieces into our own eyes,God save the ones that flew across the table,still we pursued in our relentless joy of eating every bit of crab meat we could find with our little fingers.Yes, eating crab is not for the faint hearted, nor is there any joy in eating with a crab cracking tool.To relish & savor the art of eating crab meat one ought to get their hands messy,and their lips smeared with the crab masala,with a runny nose owing to all the spices & good old loud laughter.In my opinion that is the healthiest way of enjoying crab meat and the reason why its one of my favorites, needless to say I was the last one on the table doing complete justice to the crab on my plate.
Happy thoughts that could warm your heart & soul on a cold winter day floated and before I knew it I was back home in my kitchen cleaning up the crab & getting set to cook.This preparation is a Mangalore delicacy, the coastal land in South India which is my native & where the food speaks for itself.It is a spicy dry preparation of Crab masala(spice mix) with a surplus amount of shredded coconut added to it.A bite of this,would lead the taste buds on a journey of intrigue and delight.One can eat this preparation with idlis( steamed rice dumplings),dosas(Indian pancakes) or plain rice with yogurt or any light rasam( soup)…..”Nirvana “, thy name is Crab Sukka/Masala.Its called Denji(crab) Ajadina( dry fry) in the local language of Tulu which is spoken widely in Mangalore,so that one knows what to ask for if you ever get a chance to visit the coastal town.
The recipe follows…
Crabs- 12- 15
Onions- 1/2 ( of the big one)-Finely sliced
Tamarind paste- 1/2tsp
Coconut Shredded- 3/4 cup
Salt – to taste
Oil- 4 tbsp
Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
Dry red chillis- 10-12
Pepper corn – 10- 12
Methi /Fenugreek seeds- 8-10
Jeera/Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Onion- 1/2( the other half of the onion)
Garlic – 6-8
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
1. Clean the crab and rinse it well in cold water a few times.
2.In a wok, heat some oil & then add the ingredients meant to fry one by one until they turn a golden brown.Now put them in a blender,after adding some tamarind paste to it & then make a fine paste of it.Set aside.
3.In the same wok, add the rest of the onions & saute it for a few minutes until it turns brown , now add the ground masala/paste to it, with a little water.Now gently add the cleaned crabs to the mix , add salt to taste & cover with the lid,allow it cook for 10- 15 minutes, until the crab is completely soaked in the masala & has absorbed most of it.
4.When it is almost dry with the water content of the paste/masala almost negligent & the crab well cooked, add or sprinkle the shredded coconut on the preparation and stir it all together & switch off the heat.
5 .Serve hot with rice.Enjoy.
Note: Crab meat is a flavorful, low fat high protein food that works well in a healthy diet plan for meat eaters.