It is hard to find some large heavy crabs in the markets often. Then there is always the temptation to try out a new recipe with crab meat but when the crabs get home I can only think of eating them in traditional goan preparation called Crab Xec Xec or cooked with some Recheiado masala. So this time it was Crab Xec Xec a red gravy using roasted coconut.
When I see crabs I am reminded of this young man in my village in Goa who seemed to have specialised in crab fishing. He just did it for fun and then sold his catch to the villagers. He did have a full time job with the Goa Police. I do not seem to remember his real name because everyone called him 'Kulliakar" which means the crab guy.
The catch he brought home were amazing, with huge claws and a deep shiny black shell and they were extremely juicy and delicious when cooked. We used to be very excited to see him come over with the crabs all tied up and dangling in one hand. Then my grandmother would begin to palter on the price whilst we kept looking at those sexy claws hoping they make it onto our plates at lunch. And just like they say the pets usually look like their masters in this case I think 'Kulliakar' to me had started resembling those crabs. Whenever he spoke I could almost see two huge claws emerging from either side of his sharp nose. He too had dark even complexion, with a sleek and toned body that shone as though it had been oiled.
Why am I speaking in the past tense - no 'Kulliakar' is still alive. Infact I met him a a couple of years back and he is no longer with the Goa police. Instead he takes tourists around in his tiny fishing boat into the mangroves around the island to spot some migratory birds and other fauna. He said he still manages to do some crab fishing. And yes I still see those claws moving on either side of his nose.
So I shall get back to preparing a sumptuous meal with these sexy claws. I belong to the Cancerian sun sign and can compare myself to this crustacean - a hard exterior but soft on the inside, very protective of my family and friends and a painful bite. So beware...:).
Crab Xec Xec
6 medium crabs1/2 coconut, grated
10 kashmiri chillies
2 tbsps. Coriander seeds
1/2 ttsp cumin seeds
10 peppercorns4 cloves
2 tbsps. Oil
2 onions, sliced
2 tsp. Ginger-garlic paste
¼ tsp. Tumeric powder
1/2 cup tamarind juice
2 green chillies, halved
Next roast the chillies, coriander & cumin seeds, peppercorns and cloves. Grind all the roasted ingredients to a fine paste using a little water.
Heat oil, brown the onion, stir in ginger-garlic paste and tumeric powder.
Fry for a few seconds, then add the crabs, mix well and add the tamarind juice.
Add half a cup of water, cover the pan and after 10 minutes stir in the roasted spice paster, salt and green chillies.
Cook till the gravy is thick. Serve with steamed rice.