Crab with black pepper, kali mirch and milagu !!!

November 28th, 2012

about ajoy

i’ve been a chef for over three decades now! i trained in chennai and started off with the taj hotel group. i’ve owned nilgiri’s indian restaurant in sydney for over 15 years. i’m on a mission to dispel the myth that indian food is no more than a ‘curry in a hurry’! come with me as i try and educate. indian food is my passion (alongside cricket!) and i’m enjoying exploring the new social media to fulfil this passion! i’ve also published cookery books, been on tv, the radio, won awards! now i’m also moving into making cookery videos. these are simple and easy to follow and don’t go on for hours like some Bollywood movies!

This week, folks, I wanted to share with you a very special dish.

Yes, the title may have given you a clue and yes again, it’s crab chettinad!

This dish is so special as it uses black peppercorns in three different ways. So, let’s get cracking!

Step 1:

Apply ground turmeric to the mud crabs.


apply 1/2 tsp turmeric to cleaned and cut crab. This recipe uses about 2 kgs mud crabs. [Turmeric is an excellent antioxidant and reduces any bacteria that might be in the crabs.]

Step 2:

Put cleaned crabs in the fridge whilst you prepare the sauce.

To make the sauce:


heat oil until it just starts smoking, then add 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns; let peppercorns crackle [heating peppercorns this way creates an infusion].

Step 3:


add 3 chopped onions and salt to pepper-infused oil [salt prevents the onions from sticking to the bottom of the pan]. Reduce heat to medium and let onions caramelise.

Step 4:


when onions are almost golden, add 2 sprigs fresh kari leaves and let crackle.

Step 5:


add 1 tbsp crushed garlic to onions, fold until garlic is caramelised.

Step 6:


then add 1 tbsp crushed ginger and fold until mixture is golden.

Step 7:


add 1 tbsp crushed peppercorns, to give the sauce ‘bite’, and fold.

Step 8:


add 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped and cook well.

Step 9:


cook till tomatoes are soft and oil leaves the side of the pan.

Step 10:

It’s now time to remove the crab pieces from the fridge.


add crabs and fold gently.

Step 11:


cover pan and cook until crabs become red [approx. 15-20 minutes].

Step 12:


the crabs are now cooking, yum!!

Step 13:


remove crabs from pot and then finish preparing the sauce.

Step 14:


set crabs aside whilst preparing sauce.

Step 15:


add 1 tbsp crushed peppercorns and kari leaves to sauce for that extra ‘oomph’!

Step 16:


add juice of 1/4 lemon and season to taste.

Step 17:


add crabs to finished sauce, replace lid and cook for a few minutes.

Step 18:


to plate, remove crabs and arrange on serving dish.

Step 19:


pour sauce on top of crabs.

Step 20:


add a few fresh coriander leaves, to serve.

Step 21:


ready, set, go, attack!

Step 22:


voilà! the easiest and best crab chettinad!!

So, all we need to go along with this dish is some soft steamed Basmati rice. (Click Basmati rice to see how to prepare this delicious accompaniment.)

And there you have it. A most versatile spice used in three different ways in the same recipe.

Anah daata sukhi bhaava!!

8 Comments

  1. Ajoy Joshi

    Thanks Nicky,
    Happy cooking !!

  2. nicky

    Yummy stuff,dude!

  3. Ajoy Joshi

    Thanks Vinaya,
    Will try my best!!
    Happy cooking !!

  4. Ajoy Joshi

    This is one of the easiest to make at home.
    Happy cooking !!

  5. Ajoy Joshi

    Thanks Priti,
    Give it a go !!
    Happy cooking !!

  6. Priti

    Slurp! Looks amazing!

  7. isingcakes

    Love chettinad recipes…..this is amazing!!

  8. vinaya pradhan

    Really good to see you writing some fabulous stuff again 🙂 Please Keep it coming.

Comments are closed.

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