More often than not, the seafood on your plate is pulled out by large fishing trawlers, strained out by fine nets nearer to the coast, and is sometimes farmed in man made water bodies. The beloved crab, however, cannot be categorised into any of these methods of procurement.
The mud crab (scylla serata), or mangrove crab is found in large, open estuaries with muddy substrates. Their colours range from dark grey to dark brown, sometimes with a tinge of red, making them difficult to spot in the mud. Fishermen with years of experience know the right time and place to acquire these crabs. Since they are handpicked, only crabs of the appropriate size are chosen. The skill and labour required to find these crabs is what makes them a delicacy.
At Paisley, we prepare these beautiful crustaceans in an Agri and a Pachkalshi preparation. The Agri preparation calls for stuffing the chimboris with a flavourful masala made of onions and chickpea flour, that becomes a flavour soaked dumpling when simmered in the curry. And of course, the classic Pachkalshi chimbori kalwan, made with the usual suspects: garlic, Pachkalshi masala, and coconut. Both preparations are cooked with the shell on, to let the sweet crab meat retain its flavour.
Don’t order crabs if you’re looking for a quick meal on the go. The time and skill it takes to source them, the precision with which they are scrubbed clean, and ofcourse the heirloom recipes they are prepared with, must be done justice. Take your time with these.