Cooking Crabs In Monsoon? 5 Tips To Keep In Mind

Seafood has a special place in the heart of every non-vegetarian. From simple fish fries to exotic squid risotto, these seafood delights are extremely delicious. Prawns, cod, lobsters, oysters, squid, crabs, and a variety of fish are some popular options that are loved by all. We all enjoy eating them, but cooking seafood is really a critical job. From their cleaning to their seasoning, everything needs to be done perfectly to get the desired taste and flavour. 

Talking particularly about crabs, they are very popular in India, especially in coastal areas like West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Goa. Some common crab dishes in the country are crab masala fry, Goan crab curry, kakrar jhal, crab ghee roast, Chettinad crab curry, crab khuddi, crab kurma, soup, and so on. All of them are packed with amazing flavour and taste extremely delicious, but most of us would not agree to cook them at home.

This is because crabs are not only complicated to cook but also difficult to clean. So, we have brought to you five tips that can help you cook crabs at home: 

How To Buy, Clean, And Cook Crabs?

The most popular types of crabs you can cook with are the blue crab, king crab, mud crab, and dungeness crab. If possible, always go for live crabs. They are better than those that have been cooked and processed. But if you don’t live near a coastal area, you can also go for frozen, pre-cooked ones. The amount of meat differs from one species to another, so check the quantity with the vendor before buying.  

Here are a few tips for cleaning crabs:

  • Start by rinsing the crab in water, and then blanch it in the boiling water for a minute with a pinch of salt. Next, fill a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water, and place the crab in it for a few minutes.  
  • Then pry off the shell, remove the gills, scoop out the gut of the crab, remove the abdomen, and wash and clean it carefully.  
  • After washing and cleaning nicely, cut the meat in the middle and then into quarters. Finally, cut the back half of the crab with the last two or three legs, and it is ready to cook.  

Different species have different colours, from blue to grey, but there is a simple way to find out when they are done. All varieties of crabs change their colour to red when they are properly cooked. This happens due to a chemical reaction when a pigment in its shell called astaxanthin is exposed to heat. However, if you are not sure that it's done, then you can let it cook more. It's better to have a slightly overcooked crab than an undercooked one.

How To Store Cooked Crabs?

Here, cooked crabs means when they are cleaned and boiled (or steamed), i.e., when they are ready to be used in the dishes. If you don’t want to cook it immediately after cleaning, then it can be stored in the refrigerator for three to five days. Make sure to keep them in air-tight plastic bags immediately after steaming. The longer the crabs stay at room temperature, the more bacterial growth will occur.

Normally, the shelf life of crab meat in the refrigerator is three to five days, but if you smell an unpleasant fishy and sour odour, then discard it right away. Besides the smell, you will also see discolouration and a sticky texture. Make sure to store them in the coldest part of the fridge. If you have stored a live crab in your refrigerator and it dies there, then do not use it for cooking because the bacteria will quickly destroy the meat. Consuming such meat can be very harmful for your health.