Friday, April 3, 2015

'C' for Crabs. A to Z Challenge Day 3.

After I had been married for less than two years, my father-in-law assumed office as the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh. So off they went and settled into a large palatial mansion which had more rooms than even our extra large family could fill.
Of course every vacation we would visit them. And often, other cousins and relatives would drop by too!
On one such vacation I remember it was quite a full house with a lot of cousins, nieces and nephews running about. Good fun.
Now I was, at that stage, a weird cook. I could make a good pork chop or Apple pie but was pretty clueless about basic curry or daal. Those things never interested me. But apparently people thought otherwise for one fine day a brother-in-law went out to the market in the morning and returned with a fairly large quantity of fresh crabs. "Ipsita will cook it for lunch," he announced happily.
My husband looked at me uncertainly, he was aware of my limited culinary skills. I quietly went into the kitchen where a huge bowl of raw crabs greeted me.
I was aghast. But also too proud to admit I knew nothing about the damn things.
So, from the kitchen itself ( yes, there was a phone in EVERY room) I dialled my mother in Calcutta.
She must have sensed my disquiet. For, very patiently she told me how to clean the creatures, how to take out the rich buttery layer and keep it aside and use it for flavour and told me a simple recipe to cook crabs Bengali style.
I'm happy to say it turned out very well and had every one raving at the dining table at lunchtime.

Since then I've learnt how to make simple and complicated Bengali dishes, I am quite adept at things like shukto and muri-ghanto and the like. I can also make crabs in many ways...I can steam them with butter and garlic or bake them or even make crab cakes.

But the most enduring recipe is the simple kakrar jhol that my Ma taught me that day.


  1. Lovely post! The description of your Hyderabad predicament had me quietly chuckling. :) While I don't eat crabs, give me that Muri-Ghonto any day.