Sunday, December 27, 2009

Crab legs

This Holiday season we found an abundance of seafood on sale. Here are some amazingly huge crab legs purchased in Big Fork Montana, where I spent a few relaxing days with my folks at their cabin.

Before this, my crab vocabulary consisted of those preformed sticks of imitation crab meat or the flake variety of the same. Boy was I missing out!

My dad prepped these by boiling in water seasoned with salt and pepper. Most crab legs are cooked and flash frozen to preserve flavor; the boiling step is really to bring the crab up to serving temperature. We made a quick garlic butter dip with ground garlic simmered in butter... And voilĂ ! A delicious and extra special treat.

A couple of cautions/tips

1. The crab smell like seafood, turn the vent on while boiling to minimize the eau de sea

2. You might need to break huge legs to fit in the boiling pot

3. Steaming the crab legs (as opposed to boiling) will prevent excess water from soaking into the meat... But the boiled stuff tastes good too

4. Be careful with the shell, it's tough. I don't think you need to buy special seafood utensils- you can use a knife and kitchen scissors carefully enough to successfully pick out the meat.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Parripu Vadai (fried split yellow pea snacks)

This delicious snack is our Christmas treat this year! Many thanks to my mom for her wonderful recipe and prep tips!

1 1/2 c split yellow peas
1 small red onion
Green chili- adjust amount according to desired hotness level
1/4 cup cilantro (can adjust)
1/4 tsp Aesofoteda
1tsp finely chopped ginger
Salt, to taste

Soak the split yellow peas in warm water, until a fingernail easily breaks through a test lentil (less than 1 hour). Be careful not to oversoak, and make sure the grinding step takes place without added water. Blend coarsly in blender (it's ok if whole pieces of lentil remain in the mix). The material should be blended enough that it will hold its shape during the frying stage. Mix in remaining ingredients.

Form into silver dollar sized rounds with your hands, pressing the lentil mix tightly together. Flatten each ball into a disc shape. Fry over medium-high heat (ours took about 3 minutes and had a wonderful browned shell).

These vadai are also served soaked in rasam-- mmm yum!