Faith recently received a gift from Connecticut artist Rashmi Talpade. It was a box filled with homemade Indian spice mixtures, a letter, pictures, and a family recipe.
ON-DEMAND: Listen to Faith read Rashmi’s letter and describe the unique spices included in the box.
Faith, of course, treasured the gift, and our resident chef, Chris Prosperi set out to recreate the curry of Rashmi’s husband’s childhood (and now their family recipe).
We’re slotted to debut the curry in our studio with a special test-taster we’ll reveal in an update.
UPDATE: Chris Prosperi made Rashmi’s family recipe and served it to one of the best chefs in the country (in the world, perhaps!), Prasad Chirnomula. Listen to the episode to hear what Prasad said about this dish.
Photos: Courtesy of Rashmi Talpade
- 1-1/2 pound hard shell crabs (Alaskan king crab legs may be used but are not ideal)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons chili powder (or more depending on tolerance of spice)
- 2 teaspoons homemade curry powder (a mixture of spices called "Prabhu, Sambar, Masala")
- salt to taste
- 4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
- 5-7 cloves garlic ground to a smooth paste (Three tablespoons of garlic paste – may be increased for larger quantity of gravy)
- Clean and wash the crabs, cut them in halves and separate the claws.
- Mix about 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder and one teaspoon brown Curry Powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add salt only if the crabs have not been precooked in salt water. (I use steamed crabs but in India they buy fresh live crabs, and break off the claws and add them to the boiling curry). Apply the mixture to the crabs in a thin layer, especially the exposed areas where the shells are cracked.
- Keep aside for 10 minutes.
- Heat cooking oil in large flat bottom pan and, when hot, sprinkle the asafoetida until it splutters. In the hot oil mix the garlic. Stand back as this may splutter out of the pan and on to your hands. Lower the temperature and keep stirring the garlic making sure it does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. When the garlic paste turns dark brown, mix in 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and 1 teaspoon home made curry powder and stir for a minute or two. Then add 250 ml of water and stir until the ingredients are completely homogenized and smooth.
- Once the ingredients are homogenized, add the crabs and stir the mixture together. The crabs should form one layer in the pan. Pour water until the water covers the crabs and add salt to taste. Keep the temperature low and bring the gravy to a slow boil until about 25% of the water evaporates. The gravy should be thick, not watery, (like a latte but not as thick as a milkshake) and a dark reddish brown color when done. For thicker gravy the quantity of the garlic and the curry spice may be increased. The suggested proportions of the chilli powder and curry powder are for a moderately spicy curry. These may be increased depending on the tolerance of spices.
- For the best taste, this should be stored overnight in the refrigerator so that the spices seep into the crabs.
- Alternatively, once done, let the dish cool down for an hour or so and then reheat again before serving.
- Best when eaten with long grained white basmati rice. Traditionally the curry is eaten with steamed rice and boiled and blended lentils (Dal).
Chethna Shetty says
OMG! That is the best crab curry I have eaten! Made by Rashmi way back in 1996 at her home in Connecticut-am still salivating just reminiscing about it!????
Patricia Sonnone says
I can’t wait to try this recipe on my friends from Kerala,India.