Don't overseason this; you want distinct Indian flavors, but you also want to taste the crab. This is a popular first course at the Bombay Club in the District.
Fresh curry leaves lend a unique and recognizable flavor to Indian foods; there is no good substitute for them. Omit them if you must. We found the fresh leaves at the India A1 Grocery in North Arlington.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh curry leaves (from about 12 leaves; see headnote)
- 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked to remove shells and cartilage
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Heat the oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion, fennel, turmeric and curry leaves. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 or 6 minutes or until the onion is softened and translucent.
Add the crabmeat and cook for a minute or two to heat through, tossing very gently to combine with the onion mixture. Try not to break up the lumps of crab.
Remove the saute pan or skillet from the heat. Season the mixture with the lime juice and pepper. Add salt to taste.
To serve, divide among individual plates or bowls. For a more formal presentation, gently press each serving into the bottom of a small bowl, then invert the bowl over a serving plate to unmold; or use a round cookie cutter to shape. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
Adapted from a recipe by Nilesh Singhvi, executive chef at the Bombay Club in the District.
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.