Crab Masala

Malaysian Indian cuisine, or the cooking of the ethnic Indian communities in Malaysia consists of adaptations of authentic dishes from India, as well as original creations inspired by the diverse food culture of Malaysia. Because the vast majority of Malaysia's Indian community are of South Indian descent, and are mostly ethnic Tamils , there are also a minority of other ethnics,who are descendants of immigrants from a historical region which consists of the modern Indian states  and Sri Lanka's Northern Province, much of Malaysian Indian cuisine is predominantly South Indian inspired in character and taste. A typical Malaysian Indian dish is likey to be redolent with curry leaves, whole and powdered spice, and contains fresh coconut in various forms. Ghee is still widely used for cooking, although vegetable oils and refined palm oils are now commonplace in home kitchens.Malaysian Indian curries slightly differ from the native land as many replace the use of yoghurt with coconut milk or evaporated milk.The cooking style originated from the southern part of India, but had since been localized to a Malaysian taste.Nevertheless, the curries are just as rich and flavourful and lipsmacking!
Today I'm sharing a crab dish cooked with indian spices in coconut milk.This type of dish can be found in most Indian restaurant .Crab is one of my favourite seafood dish , and I do occasionally cook and enjoy it at home. Crab is a versatile seafood as it can be cooked in many variations, one can prepare the crabs as  sambal or rendang, as the malays like to prepare ,or  sweet n sour , or even steamed with cooking wine as the chinese are famous for .In whichever manner one prepares the crabs, all are yummylicious !!

2 large crabs (abt 600gms)
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 small star anise
1 1/2 in cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 lemon grass(bruised)
1 medium yellow onion(chopped)
3 sprigs curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3 tsp heap chilli powder
2 tbsp meat curry powder (can replace with coriander powder)
3/4 cup coconut milk / 2 tbsp coconut cream

Pound coarsely
20gm ginger
3 nips garlic
3 rose shallots

How to clean the crab :

Rinse the crab. Remove the crab legs by twisting and pulling them out of their joints.
Hold onto the bottom of the crab with one hand and pop off the top shell by hooking your fingers under it near the front seam and lifting it up and over to the back of the crab.
Pull the top shell off.
Look for an orange sac near the meat of the crab. If you see one, it is crab roe, or crab eggs. Scrape out the eggs with a spoon and save them, as some people find them a delicacy and will want to eat them.
Scrape away the gills located on the right and left sides of the crab meat with a spoon. Remove the intestine, which is located along the center of the crab's back.

Cut off the edges of the running legs of the crab as there will be no flesh there.
Place a sharp knife in the center of the crab meat and press down with even pressure to cut it in half.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a wok. Add in cinnamon stick, cloves,star anise ,fennel and cumin seeds.leave to splutter,then add in chopped onions and 1 curry leaf. Saute until fragrant, then add in the pounded ginger-garlic-shallot paste.Throw in lemon grass as well. Saute further until aromatic. Lower the heat , and add in one by one the powders(turmeric,chilli and meat powder). Be careful not to burn the spices as you stir.Keep stirring the spices until aromatic.
Then add in some water (you can pour some water in the mortar which you have pounded the ginger-garlic-shallot paste, and use it) .Leave to simmer slightly.Combining all the spices until you achieve a thick gravy. Pour in the coconut milk and once it starts to simmer,add salt to taste and then add in the crabs. Mix the crabs with the spices and close lid. There is no need to cook the crab very long, as seafood cooks fast. If you cook the crab too long, the flesh might turn soggy. Cook for about 12 -15mins.Add in curry leaves.Close fire. The dish will be slightly dried ,once it cools down. serve with steaming hot rice and papad/appalam/papadum.
Note: If you want gravy, add a bit more coconut milk or water and simmer the gravy gently.Close fire once the desired thickness is achieved!

This recipe is submitted to Create with Joy -Inspire Me Monday -Week 123


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