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Unless you have got someone shelling and serving just the meat, eating crab without making a mess is an art form. But sometimes, the mess is part of the fun. I look at it as a way of shedding dining inhibitions. From roast, to curry, to being sautéed in Asian sauces, the crab can be an extremely flexible ingredient in any dish.
For a delicious and spicy crab curry, one of my favourite places is Coast II Coast. Cooked in Mangalorean spices, the runny curry goes beautifully with neer dosa or even plain rice. This place also makes good crab sukka, if you want to eat it as a starter. For Mangalorean specialty, Unicorn Bar and Restaurant on Infantry Road is one of the city’s most favourite haunts. You might do well to call and ask if they have crab on the menu that day though, but the Crab Roast is their signature dish and once you eat it, you will know why.
The crab masala fry or the crab sukka at Kudla on Richmond Road requires no introduction to old Bangaloreans. Eat the sukka by itself and the masala fry with dosas – that is my favourite combo.
And then there is Karavalli. The denji pulimunchi – soft shell crabs, coated with rice flour, fried, and then tossed in a spicy masala – is a beautiful appetiser. And the best part about soft shell crabs is that you can eat the whole thing (well almost) without having to shell it.
And if you like your food hot, try the crab vepudu (crab cooked in a spicy thick gravy) at Coringa – it has won more than enough favourable reviews. For Asian flavours, check out the poo nim pad prik Thai dum (soft shell crabs cooked in a garlic and pepper sauce). It is part of their new chef’s signature menu, and is worth a try. Another simple Asian preparation is the wok tossed pepper crab at Memories of China at Vivanta by Taj (MG Road). While the flavours here are rather mild, you can also go for the crab cooked in chilli Singapore style as well – for that extra bite, you see.
The tamarind crab at Phobidden Fruit in Indiranagar is packed with flavour. It is sweet and spicy in equal measure and is a great appetizer (it comes under the salad category at the restaurant).
At Oh! Calcutta, you can try the steamed crabmeat with shrimp that is served with mustard – it is a lovely appetizer if you don’t mind the pungency of the mustard. Here though, it is slightly toned down to suit a more general crowd. And if you want it in a curry form, go for the crab curry cooked in aam kasundi (mustard sauce with mango); it is best eaten with steamed rice and, fortunately, this dish comes with shelled crabs.
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Priyadarshini is an independent journalist from Bengaluru whose life pretty much revolves around food, good music, literature, and cinema. She’s worked with different publications over the past 10 years, and has written about travel, theatre, films, books, music, food and lots of food! She’s travelled wherever her feet and budget would allow, discovering cultures through local palates and social behaviour, and in an ideal world would probably resort to using food and music to resolve any dispute.