Jenji Gassi / Crab Curry Mangalorean Style Recipe
I’ve always complained how I miss eating seafood here in Gurgaon. Supermarkets and online stores do stock some gems from the ocean but I never bothered getting myself any. I thought they’d be way more expensive than what it is back home. As it turns out, some of it costs just the same. Like blue crab for instance. The ones I saw at this supermarket were lovely. Without missing a beat I got myself 3 big ones.
Now, there sure are many ways of cooking crab. But adding tomatoes, onions, garam masala and the likes to it give me the heebie-jeebies. That’s why I went with what I know best – Mangalorean style curry. Jenji is crab in Tulu. And gassi is curry, of course. This jenji gassi is everything home for me. The best part of this gassi is that it tastes amazing the day after it has been cooked. Ideally, in an earthenware pot. That’s why I cooked it on a Saturday night so it would taste perfect for Sunday lunch.
Crab – 3 pieces with its claws and limbs, cut for curry
Onion – 1 finely chopped + 1 more finely chopped
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coconut oil – 2 tsp + 1 tbsp
For the ground masala:
Coconut – 1 cup freshly grated
Dried red chillies – 6-8 (I used Kashmiri ones and deseeded most of them)
Coriander seeds – 1.5 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds (methi) – 1/4 tsp
Peppercorns – 1 tsp
Ginger – 1 inch knob
Garlic – 2 big cloves
Tamarind paste – 1 tsp (or use 2 tbsp pulp extract)
Keep your cleaned crab aside and make the masala.
Bring a nonstick pan to medium heat and dry roast coriander, cumin, peppercorns, chillies and methi till fragrant. About a minute.
In the same pan toss the coconut in and saute it till it’s well browned. It should take around 5 mins.
Place all the ingredients in your mixer’s jar and add a splash of water. Blitz till you have a smooth paste.
Now heat the coconut oil and toss in 1 finely chopped onion. Saute till it is translucent.
Add the masala and mix well. And then add the crab pieces.
Now add 2-3 cups of water and salt to taste. Let this come to a boil and then lower the heat.
Simmer for 12-15 mins. The crab should be cooked by then. If you have smaller pieces, then cook for 10 mins.
Heat another pan with some coconut oil and add the other finely chopped onion.
Let it turn dark brown but don’t let it burn. Top the curry with the fried onions. In the same pan with the remaining oil heating, add the curry leaves, let them splutter and top the curry with them.
Serve with rice. For this one though, I made the rice we eat back home. Boiled rice, or Kerala matta rice as it’s also called.
To cook the rice, soak one cup cleaned rice in a bowl full of water for at least one hour.
Bring 5 cups water to a boil in a pressure cooker. Add the soaked rice and cook on high heat till one whistle is out.
Then lower the heat and cook for exactly 15 mins. Open the lid only after the pressure has dropped on its own.