Crabs in Bengali & Indian Cooking: Things to Know

Crab is a meaty, delicious seafood. Cooking crab is an art and so is eating this seafood delicacy. It will take you time to master the art and experience will hopefully bring perfection to the way you eat crabs. So, with every passing day, your joy will only get bigger and better!

If you are a die-hard fan of seafood delicacies, there are a variety of crab recipes to pamper your palate. The preparation ranges from simple, sweet, soupy recipes to fiery, flavoursome curries.

The one big disadvantage of eating crabs is you need to do a lot of hard work like breaking, digging and scooping to enjoy the meaty, mildly sweet flesh.

If you don’t mind the effort, go through the next section to know the most popular crab dishes in Indian cuisines.

Crabs in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Uses of Crabs in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Though crabs are available throughout the year, it’s especially a monsoon delicacy and winter special. Most crab dishes are very spicy and rich; so they make a perfect item when the weather is a little cool as it helps to digest.

Seafood is a favourite with Bongs. So, it is quite natural of them to love crabmeat, especially when it is done with lots of spices.

Have you noticed I have written crabmeat? Yes, it is usually prepared the way you cook chicken or mutton. A variety of flavourful spices go into cooking crabmeat.

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Not all crab dishes are spicy. One simple crab recipe is prepared with gourd. Fresh gourd is used for the best taste.

Only common spices are used. Simplicity is the signature of this lesser-known Bengali crab delicacy.

The Flavor of crabmeat and that of gourd penetrate into each other and it is the secret of this non-spicy, little soupy, slightly sweet crab recipe.

Bengali crab curry is commonly known as kekdar jhal (Bengali spicy crab). It offers the dual delight of mustard oil and ghee.

Cooked with a handful of spice staples, this gently spiced preparation boasts of bold flavours. A few potato cubes and Bengali garam masala bring an added joy!

Kolhapuri crab curry is cooked with signature Kohlapuri masala. It is a traditional crab curry of Maharashtra.

The spice mix is an aromatic blend of dry roasted cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves, cumin seeds, star anise, peppercorns, nutmeg, poppy seeds and dry red chillies.

Tamarind and coconut milk balance the flavour and together, they take the taste to a flavourful height. It is a must-try for the crab crazies!

Crab is very popular among the people in coastal regions. Orissa, a neighbouring country of West Bengal, prepares a coastal delight with mud crabs.

This crab has a crusty-sweet flavour that is emboldened by the flavourful burst of cardamom, cinnamon, garlic and bay leaves. This mud crab curry is cooked in mustard oil. The cooking style resembles Bongs’.

Kerala’s traditional crab curry is called njandu curryThe recipe is flavoured with garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, poppy seeds and dry coconut.

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It is lazily cooked in coconut milk for the natural sweetness. The dish gets a kick of kudampuli, a kind of dried tamarind grown in the Malabar Coast.

The west coast’s love for seafood is an open secret! If we talk about coastal cuisines, how can Malavani be left out of the discussion? They are the champions of seafood preparation.

They have their own signature crab recipe namely kurlya rassa. Black mud crabs are chosen for the curry. They are properly cleaned and boiled till their crustaceans become bright orange.

The crabs are then cooked in onion-and-coconut gravy that soaks in flavours from dry and wet coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, poppy seeds, star anise and garlic.

This preparation is similar to Kerala-style crab curry but the latter gets an extra flavour kick from dried tamarind.

Another Malavani crab delicacy, sometimes called Maharashtrian crab curry, is called kekda masala.

It is cooked with coconut milk and fresh coconut, a host of spices and tempered in mustard oil. This curry is a piquant delicacy and popular across Maharashtra.

Mangalore crab curry is slow cooked in succulent gravy of grated onion, coconut, tamarind and with goodness of curry leaves.

The tangy flavour of tamarind is perfectly married with the creaminess of coconut and emboldened by a mix of spices including fenugreek, fennel seeds, coriander, cumin and mustard seeds.

Chettinad has its own crab curry, famously known as nandu masala. The recipe uses blue crabs.

The luscious dish is enriched by a host of flavours from poppy seeds, fennel seeds, chillies, cardamom, coconut and other spices and Tamilnadu’s signature kosher salt.

The recipe uses whole crabs lacquered with rich, semi-dry, spicy gravy that works really well with a bowl of steamed rice.

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When it comes to crabs, how not to mention the Goan version? Goan crab curry whips up a wonderful play of flavours.

The rich gravy borrows flavours from tamarind paste, coconut milk, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and cardamom. Crabs are dunked and cooked in luscious broth.

How to Make Crab Taste Good?

Crab is usually prepared with loads of spices. The key to preparing  delicious crab curry is to make the meat succulent and spicy.

It is usually cooked on low flame so that flavours get into crabmeat.

Questions & Answers:

Is Crab Tasty?

Crab is extremely tasty. If properly done, its meat is one of the most luscious seafood.

How Long Does Crab Take to Cook?

Crab takes 15-20 minutes to get cooked. You should use a lid to cover the pan to speed up cooking.

How Do You Know When Crab is Cooked?

Crab changes its colour to beautiful orangey red after they are properly done. In fact, a crab starts changing colour once it gets exposed to heat.

How Does Crab Taste?

Crab tastes slightly salty and sweet. In a word, it’s delicious.

What is Kekda Called in English?

Kekda is called Crab in English.

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