Pan Fried Sea Crab in Basil Spice

Pan Fried Sea Crabs in Basil Spice

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I tried sea crabs last weekend and one thing I learnt was that they cannot be stored for long so just buy, crack and cook for best treats.

Not the best of my days was made absolutely tolerable with the treat that dished out. Note the marinate used in the dish, it had the desirable impact on the taste palates. Since it’s just a  few minutes preparation dish and most of the spices have been chopped straight off from the garden, it all just exemplifies the experience !

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 to enjoy.
  • Preparation time : 20 minutes
  • Serving size : 5 to 6 helpings each.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Sea Crabs, 3 to 4, cracked : They are as sweet as a lobster just a bit softer. Sea crbs are considered good for healing inflammations, improving cognitive skills and their salinity scrapes off the plaque as well. 
  • Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : Use the coarse sea salt for authenticity and it’s minerals.
  • Oil, 2 tablespoons, to pan fry : I would prefer coconut oil which is mildly sweet and has a low boiling point.
  • Lime Basil, freshly harvested and broken, 1/2 cup : Basil is the “King of Herbs” for many reasons. It is a strong anti oxidant. It fights virus, bacteria and other microbes in the body. I grow 4 to 5 types of basil in my garden and am always looking for new things to do with it.
  • Celery , freshly harvested and chopped, 2 tablespoon : I grow celery for around 5 months in a year and they grow well in tubs, bags and small planters. They have one of the healthiest foliage & excellent antioxidant. It gives good bitter pungency to the stock.
  • Mustard paste, 1 bowl (dry mustard 1/2 cup, salt 1/2 teaspoon, vinegar 5 to 6 teaspoons, red chilli powder 1 teaspoon) : This one mix really does the trick in this dish. Note that this is a rapidly made version of what would be a nice chili mustard for a hot dog.
  • Eggs Whites, 2 : This is what a power packed protein coating would be totally bereft of any flavor of it’s own. It helps bind the marinate very well. Also helps, since the crab meat itself is soft and tends to fall apart while being cooked.
  • Paprika, 1/2 teaspoon : Light and bitter with good amount of vitamin e and a strong antioxidant.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash, clean and dry the broken crabs well to take away any dirt in the crevices.
  • Marinade with the mustard mix for about an hour. Crab is a soft white meat so even 45 minutes of coating will get in your flavours well.
  • Whip the whites of the 2 eggs and keep in a bowl.
  • Now dust off the extra marinate and now coat it with the fluffed up egg.
  • Keep aside and heat oil in a pan meanwhile.
  • Add basil to it and stir fry mildly on medium heat for two minutes.
  • To this add chopped celery and sprinkle the paprika and a pinch of salt.
  • Mix well and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Now finally add crab to it and stir fry for 8 to 9 minutes, occasionally increasing and decreasing heat as per requirement.
  • Take off and serve hot.
  • Serve with some grilled fruits. Peaches when grilled are great accompaniments !

Storage : Not much will be left once you are through .

Missing Something ? : May just season with some white pepper, that’s about it !!

Oysters Fried in Tamarind Sauce

Oysters Fried in Tamarind Sauce

Sometime back I cooked some oyster meat as a masala recipe. That had a sunshine essence while this one has a midnight appeal 🙂 . I was very enthralled by the little dish which was amazingly textured and turned from a dirt filled slimy meat pieces to absolutely divine morsels. Was very eager to making something similar using the tanginess of tamarind and the bite of some fresh chilies. I had this dish with a bowl of clear boiled white rice and wow, it turned out great. It pays to be adventurous in the kitchen 😀 . Do try at your end, and yes, feel free to iterate your own way !!

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 to 3
  • Preparation time : 25 minutes
  • Serving size : 2 to 3 tablespoon of the dish

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Oysters meat, cleaned, 250 grams :Fluidic and tender, oyster meat is a good antioxidant and as written earlier, since it has very little fat and calories, it is great in weight management and increasing the energy levels in a person. Notwithstanding, oyster meat is a good aphrodisiac too. I get them at local seafood delivery even in off season, so not too difficult to lay hands upon even in Delhi.
  • Green Chilies, 2 to 3 : Great for eyes and skin, green chilies are the healthiest ones to bring in the bitter zing in any dish. I used them here, freshly plucked from my garden to bring in their essence. I deseeded them well to ensure it being kids friendly. I pick the less bitter ones from my garden.
  • Turmeric powder, 1/3rd teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the dish. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. Though I’ve started growing turmeric in my garden, it’s not been used as a dried spice yet.
  • Degi Mirch, 1/2 teaspoon : Widely native in the heavenly valleys of Kashmir state, degi mirch has an amazing ruby red color and a mild bitter flavor. It has pretty much similar benefits of skin, hair and inflammation as most regular chili peppers.
  • Tamarind, 1 teaspoon : Tamarind manages body heat well and helps in weight loss and heart regulation. It boosts digestion and immunity. Tamarind brings tanginess in the dish.
  • Pepper powder, 1/4th teaspoon : Hot and mildly pungent, black pepper is good for digestion, skin, respiration and is a good antioxidant too. On tables across the world salt n pepper are partners in relation.
  • Garam Masala, 1/3rd teaspoon : The ever popular Indian concoction of spices helps in weight loss, pain fight, immunity boost etc. True to its name, it’s hot and powerful. Imagine being the blend of around 10 powerful spice essence. Indian kitchen = Garam masala. 
  • Sea salt, to taste : Sea salt is slightly healthier and mineral rich salt. However, I add it here instead of table salt to bring in more authentic essence in my seafood 🙂
  • Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon : Sour and acidic, with a good amount of citric acid, we add lemon here not just to enhance the sour essence but also to use it’s hydrating and digestive qualities.
  • Curry leaves, 6 to 8 : There isn’t a household in India which does not have a curry leaves plant. They have high amount of calcium, carbohydrates, fibre, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin E, B, C and A hence helping heart, hair, skin and fighting infections. Here I add them for their extreme spicy aroma. One old friend from Bangalore once told me, if the South Indians would have their way, they would even add curry patta in Chinese food 🙂 
  • Fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon : Fennel is amazingly sweet perfumed and tastes so much like licorice that it is a widely used breath freshener in India. Fennel has amazing benefits like maintaining bone & skin health and aiding digestion.
  • Oil, 14th cup : I used coconut oil due to it being odorless and tasteless and just providing the grease and with a low heating point.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Heat half the oil in a pan on medium heat and wait till it starts fuming.
  • To this add turmeric powder, and degi mirch and cook for 30 seconds. Do not overdo else your pan will start fuming sneezy fumes 🙂
  • To this add 2 pinches of salt, the tamarind paste, the garam masala and pepper powder and stir for a minute maximum. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir further for 2 minutes to form a thick sauce. Now take off the flame, off the pan and set aside.
  • Heat the rest of the oil in the same pan. When it fumes, add fennel and move till it crackles.
  • Now add curry leaves and the green chilies and make them move around in the pan to cook for 2 minutes on medium flame.
  • Remember, all the dish cooks in medium flame only. That way the light oil retains greasiness and the oyster also do not firm to a rubbery texture.
  • While the pan is cooking chilies and curry leaves, add the oysters meat to it. Cook for 10 minutes in the pan stirring well. This would be the right time to adjust the salt levels. Mix well and switch off the gas.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice over the oysters and leave the oyster cooked such (covered  with a lid) for next 2 minutes.
  • Now open the lid and pour the tamarind sauce earlier prepared.
  • Serve steaming to hungry poking forks 😀

Storage : Not suggested. The texture will be lost forever. Anyways, you are making a yummy dish, don’t even think about storing it.

Missing Something ? : I suggest don’t tinker too much with the ingredients here.

Pan Fried Octopus

Octopus Pan Fried

There are always a few things that one comes across and take upon as a challenge to do. Cooking octopus was one such challenge. Every step of cooking an octopus was a learning for me. Right from the type of octopus that cook best to the safety steps involved in it. Octopus cooking is no sweet deal if you do not know how. Every part of an octopus is unique hence you tend to learn a lot about the creature as well. Just to startle you with its introduction, an octopus has 3 hearts, 9 brains and blood which is blue in color ! 9 brains, should make it the most intelligent creature on earth right ? Wrong. Only one of its brains is primary and rest eight are attached to each of its tentacles and have limited functions. Not that we are bothered about with that much, we get right to our skillet to take up this challenge !

Read on and pardon me for any errors in the dish 😦 since it’s literally my first attempt at Dr. Octo  😀  !!

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Octopus 2 to 3 medium small, would be around 500 grams : I ordered some and lo behold, I got delivered fresh full-bodied octopus. Octopus have a mild rubbery, chewy texture. I felt there wasn’t much taste of its own in an octopus, so it was quite open to cooking styles and use of spices. It is extremely low in fats and has good amounts of minerals, Vitamin B12 and protein.
  • Red Chilies, ground, 1/3rd teaspoon : Red chilies are good for skin and eyes and are great anti oxidants. Here I use them for their extreme flavor and earthiness over a bland octopus meat.
  • Oil, light, unflavored : I would prefer light oils like coconut or olive here to grease my pan.
  • Coarse sea salt granules : Coarse sea salt granules are more authentic and full of minerals which the regular table salt is lacking. Use it to your taste.
  • Onions, chopped, 1 tablespoon : I generally use the red, mild onions with white layers inside. They have a fair taste and are great in controlling blood sugar.
  • Tomatoes, 2 tablespoon, chopped : Filled with potassium, magnesium and Vitamin A, C & K, tomatoes form the cooking flavor essence in this dish.
  • Lemon, 1/2, cut : Sour and acidic, with a good amount of citric acid, we add lemon here not just to enhance the sour essence but also to use it’s hydrating and digestive qualities.
  • Cherry tomatoes, 2 – 4, cut in halves : Has high sugar concentration so is very sweet and cute to look at too. I grow them in pots and in my garden, but they are easily available at stores as well. Packed with powerful nutrients like Vitamin A, C and K and potassium. I grow them in abundance in my garden.
  • Garlic cloves, roasted, 5 – 6 : My King Pungent ! Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Parsley leaves, 1 tablespoon : Parsley is the best mouth freshener and tomato is the right natural condiment with seafood. I grow at least 4 varieties in my garden hence am pretty keen to use anytime.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash the octopus well several times.
  • Take off (chop) the head part, refer snaps. This is very critical since the head contains the beak part. The beak is the part from where the octopus not only eats, he also defends himself by releasing the toxic blue blood from its beak. So stay from trouble and chop its head off the tentacles.
  • Take these tentacles and wash well again. Now pat dry them and soak them in cold milk for 30 minutes. Soaking in milk enables the white soft texture to retain its tenderness and not turn rubbery and unchewable when cooked.
  • Now heat the oil in a non stick skillet/pan. Add salt and red chilies (ground) and mix well.
  • Now add onions to it and stir till golden brown.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes (not the cherry tomatoes) to the pan and saute’ for two minutes.
  • Now carefully add the chopped octopus tentacles. Stir cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and cook covered for 7 – 8 minutes. Now switch off the flame and keep it covered for another 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Now take off the lid and serve in a platter. Garnish this with chopped parsley.
  • Mild roast the garlic cloves and cherry tomatoes and keep as sides on the platter to give the correct essence.
  • Mildly squeeze some lemon juice and serve immediately.

Storage : Like most of my dishes, do not store. Coook only as per requirement.

Missing Something ? : Feel free to iterate.