Thali’s Konkan Crab

June 24, 2008

During the second stop of Saturday’s restaurant tour, Amal Raj — a chef from Thali — demonstrated how to prepare Konkan Crab, their signature appetizer, the one I’d call a Bite of the Best.

The restaurant and this mild flavored dish, which comes from from Goa, a state on the western coast of India, are helping to change the way Americans think of Indian food. It’s not all curry.

Konan Crab

Cook’s notes: Before beginning this recipe, prepare mise en place – meaning have all the ingredients chopped and ready to use. Chill the coconut milk until it is creamy (Chacko brand from Thailand, preferred). Also have a cover handy, as when you add the mustard seeds to the hot butter they may pop out of the pan.

Heat a heavy-bottomed wok or deep pan over high heat until it begins to smoke, reduce the heat to medium and add 2 T clarified butter (butter that’s been melted and separated to remove the milk solids enabling you to cook with it at higher temperatures).

Quickly stir in ¼ t black mustard seeds, 2 minced garlic cloves, ½ t chopped ginger, 1 chopped Serrano (seeds and veins included) or other favorite chili, 1 chopped medium-size red onion and 8 fresh curry leaves (available at an Indian grocery store). Use the cover, if needed, to protect yourself from popping seeds. Cook, while stirring occasionally, just until the onion begins to brown.

Increase heat to high and stir for 2 minutes. Add 1 pound jumbo lump crab and season with salt and crushed black pepper to taste. Add 1 cup coconut milk, bring to a boil and cook, while scraping down the sides of the pan. Add 2 T fresh lemon juice and 2 T freshly grated coconut, stir and serve 4.

– bonnie

4 Orange Street, New Haven

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