Monday, 9 November 2015

Gautam's Chilli Crabs

 I met Gautam Nath and his lovely wife Vineeta when I was hosting a popular cooking show in Toronto. Gautam is one of the most creative and passionate foodies I know. He also has an astonishingly rich cultural heritage. Gautam's father is from India, his mother is from Czech Republic, he was born in Egypt and as a son of an Indian diplomat, he lived in five different countries as a child. Gautam has collected a great wealth of
recipes along the way. He and his wife have settled in Toronto and they love to entertain. Anyone who steps into their home is greeted by comforting aromas of a home cooked meal.

I was privileged to cook with Gautam on a few occasions and even made one of his dishes for my Christmas dinner a couple of years ago. This recipe is as scrumptious and as succulent as it can get. Perfectly cooked crab in a fragrant broth of turmeric, garlic, ginger and other aromatic components that make this dish unforgettable. A sunny splash of lemon juice elevates this crab dish to celestial heights of gastronomic satisfaction and the coriander's earthy notes bring that perfect balanced finish to every single bite. This recipe is every seafood lover's map to the ultimate culinary happiness.


1 kg of fresh cleaned crab in the shell, 500 gr. of finely chopped onion, 500 gr. tomato, 4 tbsp. red chilli powder, 1 tbsp. turmeric, juice of 1 lemon, handful of cilantro, 2 bay leaves, 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, a touch of fresh ginger, salt to taste, 2 cups of basmati rice, 1 cup of cooking oil, 2 cups of milk.


In a deep pot heat the oil and add bay leaves, garlic and ginger and stir for a minute until starts to caramelize. Add onions and cook a little longer. In a separate pot of boiling water, blanch your tomatoes, remove the skin and mash them up. Add to the mixture with onions. Add the turmeric powder and a cup of water and cook till it turns into a thick paste. Add the crabs and gently stir until the colour of the shells turns red. Add red chilli powder and lemon juice. Stir for another few minutes. Add more water till the crabs are two thirds covered. Turn the heat to simmer and cover. After 10 minutes uncover, bring it back to vigorous boil and reduce the liquid to about one forth the level of the crabs. Add salt to taste and turn the heat off. Separately cook your rice in half water and half milk. Place your crab in a serving dish, pour its gravy on top and garnish with coriander leaves.

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