Kuttanad in Kerala, India is famous for it’s paddy fields, the vast backwaters and a favourite tourist’s destination. This is the only place in India where farming is carried out around 3 metres below sea level. The soil is very saline and kuttanad is famous for Biosaline farming. The name kuttanad is said to be derived from chuttanad ie; burned forest. Till recently burned logs (karineelam) was mined from the paddy fields.  Cuisine in kuttanad mainly uses seafood and duck with lots of spices.

Crab I’m using here is blue crab which is sweet, tasty and everyone’s favourite. The shells of the blue crab is soft compared to mud crab and I find it easy to handle. Here I’ve boiled the crab in turmeric water first before cleaning it. Boiling the crabs in the turmeric water removes any toxins in the crab. This method, you can use for any type of preparations and it won’t leave any turmeric smell or taste once you clean the crab.

Preparation time : 15 mts

Cooking time : 15 + 15

Serves : 4

Ingredients :

  • 1 kg crab
  • 1 cup small shallots (or 2 medium size onions sliced)
  • 5 cloves of garlic sliced
  • 1′ ginger sliced
  • 2 stems of curry leaves
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 3 table spoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces (optional)

Dry powdered spices :

  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • few seeds of fenugreek (this ingredient actually combines all other spices together)
  • 1 tsp garam masala / Chinese all spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/2 + 1/2 tsp of salt (you’ll really be using only 1/2 tsp of salt in total)

Method :

  • Boil water in a large vessel which is sufficient to hold the crabs.
  • Wash the whole crab under running water and tear off some of the claws if needed, so that it will fit inside the boiling water comfortably.
  •  Add 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp of salt. Adding turmeric will remove any toxins in the crab.
  • Cook the crab for 10 mts.
  • Once the crab is cooked drain the water and clean the crab removing the gills and any dirt inside.
  • Chop it to desired pieces and set aside.
  • Heat a thick bottom pan or kadai add coconut oil.
  • Saute the garlic and ginger for 2 mts.
  • Add the small shallots and curry leaves and a pinch of salt. Cook the onins till they are soft.
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  • When the onions are cooked add in the dry spices and cook in low fire till it looses its raw smell and changes to a deeper colour.
  • Add in the chopped tomatoes and coconut pieces along with the crab.
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  • Sprinkle some water and keep on stirring slowly till all the spices are well coated in the crab.
  • Cover and cook in low fire for another 5 mts.
  • Since the crab is already cooked it needs only the finishing touches.
  • After 5 mts switch off the fire and try not to open the lid for another 10 mts.