Saturday, 21 September 2013

"njende curry" - Sour & Spicy Coorg Crab curry

Coorg is like 2nd home to me...
We love driving to Coorg and spending a long weekend there.. 
Some of our best friends are from coorg, everything about Coorg is awesome, the weather, the people and most importantly the food.
Coorgi Pandi curry or Pork curry is something to die for...and personally its my favorite dish in the coorg cuisine. But I still do not know how to cook pork.
Most coorg curries use Kachampuli or Coorg vinegar which is a dark tart vinegar extracted from the fruit which belongs to the Garcinia gummi-gutta family. A must for many Coorg dishes, this vinegar gives a distinct taste to dishes.
Njende curry is another of the coorg curries which uses Kachampuli.
Crabs are a favorite with most people who love seafood.
I make crab curry quite often and my speciality has always been the Spicy "Crab Curry or Chilli based - Mangalore Konkani style" curry.
Of course for the those who prefer non-spicy food "Kurle Ambat" is the best.
There is also this Bunt version of Crab curry called "Jenji Ghasi" which is another of my favorite.
For those who do not count calories, the deep fried crabs are just out of this world.
However, my frequency of cooking crab is so much that I have been looking out for some new recipes every time I travel.
Recently during one of our trips, I met a chef from a resort in Coorg. In no time we became friends and I managed to get this "Njende curry" recipe.
njende curry is a sour and spicy crab curry from coorg which is normally eaten with akki rotti or unleavened rice rotis.

Serves 4
Crabs - 1 kg ( 4 or 5 crabs)
To fry for masala:
Oil for frying
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Peppercorns - 1 tsp
Dry whole red chillies - 8
Cumin seeds  - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - less than 1/4 tsp
Garlic bulb/pod - 1 whole - skin removed
Ginger piece - 1 inch piece
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Onions - 6 - medium size - sliced
Coconut - 1/4 part - grated
Tomatoes - 4 large - ripe
Salt to taste
Kachampuli (Coorg souring agent/coorg vinegar) or dark malt vinegar - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - as per taste

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and fry all the masala ingredients ie Coriander seeds, peppercorns, dry whole red chillies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, garlic, ginger and turmeric powder for 1-2 minutes. Now add the onions and fry till onion turns light brown. Then add the grated coconut and fry till coconut turns dark brown and releases its aroma. Remove from fire and cool.
Grind these roasted ingredients along with tomatoes to a smooth paste. Add salt and mix into the crabs.
Wash out the remnants of the spice mixture from the mixer, and reserve 2 cups of this masala water for adding later.
Take a large heavy bottomed pan, add 2-3 tsps of oil and add crabs with the masala and stir fry for 5 minutes.
Now add the 2 cups of the reserved masala water and cook uncovered over low heat for about 15 minutees.
Add 1 tablespoon of kachampuli or malt vinegar and simmer for a few minutes till the oil rises on top.
Add 1 teaspoon sugar, check the seasoning and sourness.
Serve with a dash of fresh lime juice. 

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