Indian cuisine is so vast and diverse that I often wonder it would take a lifetime for me to experience this rich legacy of Indian food. Every state has its own rich food culture that warrants a separate cookbook. Having grown up in a North Indian family I had the privilege of enjoying North Indian food prepared by mom, but then there was a vast gamut of preparations that were unexplored.
Maharashtra, being the state I grew up in, I particularly craved for and wanted to enjoy the authentic Maharashtrian food especially sea food. Mom would try and make fish recipes sometimes for us; however she would shy away from making some very authentic recipes like “Chimbori/Kurlya Masala” or “Crabs Masala”.
I was fortunate that in my early childhood days, I stayed in chawl (if you want to understand what a chawl is, just type in “Indian Chawl” in google and jump on to Wikipedia article). India is often defined by the concept “Unity in diversity” and life at chawl epitomizes this concept. It is full of people from varied backgrounds, caste, creed, diverse food and yet staying together as one big family. The chawl where I stayed in during my childhood, had couple of families from “Agri” community. They would make some real good and authentic sea food preparations and would share it with our family (In case you are wondering, sharing food is a part of chawl culture). So that was how I got the first true taste of Crab Masala and I was fascinated by the taste of Crabs. I would savor the crab masala with steamed rice.
Last week, missus announced that we deserve a break from our usually hectic work schedule. The idea of an impromptu vacation, has never fascinated me and I always want to stay organized till the very last detail on a trip. So missus and me decided to take a trip that we have taken several times in past, which was to Ratnagiri, her paternal home. I would be writing about our trip to ratnagiri and sharing the pictures in a separate blog that I plan to write soon, but I will resist the temptation and will try and stick to the topic.
While we are on this trip, where we intended to relax and freshen ourselves with a stroll on the beach, watching “Raapan- it’s a traditional fishing method followed in Konkan”, idea of making some authentic sea food recipe that we have never tried in our home kitchen caught our fancy. You can never keep a foodie out of the kitchen, Can you? So we decided to make Crab Masala also known as “Kurlya Masala” in local language and who better to guide us in this fascinating endeavor than my MIL. She is a kind of subject matter expert on anything related to sea food. This crab masala came out so nice that we decided to share it on our blog. If you are a crustacean’s aficionado, you would never want to miss out on this recipe. It is a ‘must try’ recipe in Caps. Please try this recipe and let us know how it came out by sharing your feedback in comment section below.
- 6 crabs. Crabs must be properly cleaned and separated into 3 parts a) Crab body b) Crab Claws c)Crab legs. See our video on "How to clean crab"
- 1 large onion cut lengthwise
- 2 large tomatoes pureed
- 3 cups dry coconut (dessicated and dry roasted)
- 1 cup fresh coriander leaves
- 10-12 cloves of garlic
- 1-1.5 inches of ginger root
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 4 tsp Malvani Masala
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- Cooking Oil
- Heat 3 tbspoon Oil in a large pan. Add garlic into the pan and roast them till they become slightly brown.
- When garlic becomes brown, add ginger and roast it for 30 seconds.
- Now add onions and continue frying until onions become slightly brown.
- Now add coconut and roast them for 1 minute. Remember we have taken dry roasted coconuts.
- Turn off the flame and add fresh coriander leaves. Allow the roasted masala to cool down, and then we will grind it into a fine paste.
- Make a smooth paste from roasted masala using little water.
- Grind crab legs in a grinder with little water.
- Strain the juice out from crab legs.Strained juice will be used for thickening gravy
- Heat 2 tbspoon oil in a large vessel and add curry leaves. Now add masala paste and roast it for 2-3 minutes.
- Now add turmeric powder and malvani masala and roast it for 2 minutes.
- When oil starts oozing out and gets separated from masala, add crabs and its claws and coat them nicely with the masala.
- Add hot water to the vessel till the level of the crabs(crabs should be completely immersed).
- Allow the curry to boil on medium flame.
- When curry begins to boil, add tomato puree, salt as per taste. Be very careful with the salt, as crab shells have salt content in them.
- Let the crab cook on slow flame until the color of shell becomes dark red or orange.
- After 4 minutes color of crab shell should change.
- Turn off the flame and now add the liquid strained out from crab legs. Cover immediately.
- Enjoy Konkani delight "Crab Masala/Kurlya Masala" with steamed rice.
Folks, that’s it for now, I am heading out for my evening stroll on beach. Until next time, enjoy cooking.
Click here to watch recipe video