Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kankrar Jhol Ektu Jhal – Spicy Crab Curry

Been a long time I posted on this blog. This time it is a Food Tale of Crabs.

When the crabs came home, nah not on their own. They came from the market after buying them from the fish market of C R Park. The pair of the big legs with their claws tied with plastic thread (by the seller) so that they cannot harm its killer who is ready to take away its life for the sake of taste.

Carrying the plastic bag in hand it was placed on the floor of the car and the 6 crabs all holed up in the bag travelled for their last my home and straight into the kitchen. Preparation started after a little while. A big bowl of water was placed on the burning flame and once it was hot with the steam rising, I took the opportunity to put the crabs in it and within minutes they died, making efforts to crawl out but couldn’t.

In relating my story I forgot to tell you a secret about the trick of buying crabs. Simple and one liner – make sure the crabs are not dead and that is clearly visible from the movement of the legs (big and small ones). While most of the crabs live their lives in the salt water of the seas and oceans, there are who are fond of fresh water and many more live on land in holes.

The next step was to drain the water, dress the crabs. First the big legs and even the smaller ones were separated from the body and washed properly, next the hard shell was separated and the fleshy part washed and kept to be cooked.

With the dressing complete time to talk about the cooking.


Dressed crabs medium size 6 with the legs

Potatoes: 3 medium size peeled and diced

Tomatoes: 2 chopped finely

Onion: 3 (medium size)

Ginger: ½ inch

Garlic: 6-8 cloves

Bay leaf: 4-5

Cinnamon: 2 sticks

Cardamom: 5-6 pods

Cloves: 3-4

Red chilli powder: ¾ tsp or as per the heat you can bear. I used Deghi Mirch.

Haldi powder: 1 ½ tsp

Sugar: ½ tsp

Salt: to taste

Mustard oil for cooking: 3 ½ tbsp (you can use less oil)


Make a paste of the onion, ginger and garlic.

Heat oil in a kadhai. Fry the cubed potatoes lightly and keep them aside.

In the same oil hot throw in the bay leaves followed by the cinnamon sticks (break them to smaller pieces with your hands), the cardamom pods partially crushed and the cloves.

Once the aroma of the spices rise, add the paste you have made and cook for sometime.

After 3-4 minutes of cooking this masala on medium flame add the tomatoes and cook again for about 2 minutes. Now add salt and sugar and the potatoes and cook till the oil leaves the side of the kadhai.

Add water enough for flowing (neither very thick nor thin) gravy. Cover the vessel and cook till the potatoes are half cooked.

Time to add the dressed crabs and cook till the potatoes are soft and the gravy not too watery but thick enough to be served with hot rice.

Time taking to eat this dish but leaves a lingering taste.


  1. Dear Didibhai
    How are you? I am here after a long time.
    It has been ages i had crab with a typical Bong flavour!!!
    It is long time since I cooked crab. But I used to dress crab by pulling the scalp out while they are alive, and clean out the nonedibles. That sounds pretty cruel, may not be able to do it perhaps.
    Happy holi

  2. Hello Ushnishda,
    Nice to see you here and first to come up with your comment.
    I can't dream of dressing a live crab...jump and shout when they make movements.
    Read about the pick pocket incident...soooo sad. Though I've not commented, I'm following whatever you put up on your blogspot.
    You will not be having a colouful Holi in Milano but sending and receiving Holi wishes will make your day. Isn't it?

    ...and keep smiling...

  3. Wow that's surely a yummy dish!!!

  4. Hi Aruna,
    Thanks for visiting and posting a comment.

    ...and keep smiling...

  5. hi Gouri,
    I enjoyed the read about the crabs journey from the market plact to ur kitchen and then to the dish:)
    nicely described, seems a typical Bong recipe.

  6. Gouridi' crab er story ta amar khub boro help. Kichutei kenar shahosh korte pari na. Oi hard shell ta separate kore thik ki clean korte hoye jani na. :-)
    Jhol ta dekhe ekhuni bhaat diye khete icche korche. :-)

  7. Suparna, thanks for the visit. It's a typical Bong recipe and glad you liked the 'crab journey'.

    ...keep smiling...

  8. Sharmila, tumi shellta charanor por phuler moto fleshy part tar sathe lege takbe. seta charia alada kore phele diyo are bodyta running tap er niche ghoshe dhue niyo. Pagulo jale bhalo kore ghoshe dhobe. Tarpor ranna kore khabe.

    Bhlobasa nebe,

  9. hi Didibhai,

    My first time here.

    I often see crabs at our local market. Didn't know what to do with them. Have you seen 'Ju;ie and Julia'. Your lovely post reminded me a scene there where Julie cooks crabs or lobsters.

    I have had crabs at various places. The most adventurous one was standing at the Benfish stall at the Book Fair at Park Street. Books in one hand. Crabs balanced in a paper plate in another. Was in college then. Not a very elegant date I must admit.



  10. looks so yum... I love crabs, my favorite...
    I haven't eaten in ages, would love to have it.

  11. Good to see you back, Gauri :-)This sounds interesting and delicious...

  12. Hi Kalyan,
    I think you can try out cooking crabs at home. After all you have a helping hand and with your directions the plate can be served for a Sunday lunch, Why I mentioned Sunday...eating crabs is time consuming....just joking.

    I haven't seen Julie and Julia.
    Book Fair, crabs and college days...nostalgic moment...

    Thanks for being here.

    Gouri (Didibhai)

  13. Somoo, nice to read your comment. Crabs are sooo tasty and I simply love eating.
    Another crab lover:-)



  14. Gulmohar, thanks for posting your comment. Always nice to get feedbacks.
    Crabs are really delicious and...


  15. My fav crab dish is something called butter pepper garlic crab at a restaurant called Mahesh at Mumbai. They break it and get it for you