{Scroll down for the giveaway!}

This year is going to be about stepping out of my comfort zone. In the kitchen and otherwise. I think it’s the best way to learn—to challenge oneself, to face one’s fears in the face and give it all you’ve got. This may sound a bit dramatic for a recipe, but it is what it is.

My fisherwoman had been telling me to eat crab—apparently, they’re good postpartum food. She mentioned it to me but didn’t push it much, fully confident that I wouldn’t know what to do with the crabs. She wasn’t wrong—I love crabs and lobsters, but not only had I never cooked any, I was mortally afraid of handling them. One morning, I told her I’d buy them if she agreed to cut and clean them for me. She agreed. Long after she’d left my kitchen, cleaning bits of sand and inedibles from the dissected crabs, a limb throbbed in the steel plate it lay in, and Avanee shrieked. I froze. And then, I remembered my mantra for the year.

A lot of people have been asking me how I manage three children—a kindergartner and a pair of newborns. The truth is, I have come to realize that things are only as difficult as you make them to be. If I decide to keep complaining about the number of things I have to do, the lack of rest and hands, the physical trauma of a twin pregnancy, the kindergartner’s typical growth-related behavioral issues, and umpteen other things, I will never get anything done. I am human, of course, and I do complain to M (a lot!) and have an occasional breakdown. But the only thing that keeps me going is the philosophy of treating three kids with as much a sense of routine as one would manage one child. It’s only complicated if you think it is. At three months post partum, I have decided to slowly get back to work—I am finishing work on my book, taking on a few small writing and consultancy projects, and getting back to blogging. The sense of achievement I have at the end of a day juggling kids and work is precious and cathartic, to say the least.

And so, with that image of power in my head, I stepped ahead and looked at that throbbing leg again. I pulled out Katy Dalal’s Seafood Fiesta, a lovely book explaining the different types of seafood available along Indian shores and how to prep and cook them, gifted to me lovingly by Katy’s son and daughter-in-law, my dear friends, Kurush and Rhea Dalal. I found this recipe for Crab and Pineapple curry. With a few minor changes according to availability of ingredients, it turned out absolutely delectable, its combination of spicy, citrusy, hot, and sweet flavors working in unison to create a particularly happy lunch. This is my reproduction of Katy’s recipe with a few changes:

Crab and Pineapple Curry

Crab and Pineapple Curry

Ingredients:

  • 4 crabs, cut and cleaned
  • 1 fresh, ripe pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup of fresh coconut, scraped
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 onion, cut into cubes
  • 2 inch-piece of lemongrass
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 10 dried Byadgi chilies, rehydrated in warm water
  • 5-6 black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil such as rice bran oil; or coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Place the cubed onion, coconut, coriander seeds, peppercorns, chilies, ginger, lemongrass, and turmeric in a blender and blend to a smooth paste using a little warm water from the rehydrated chilies.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they crackle, tip in the finely chopped onion and saute until transluscent.
  3. Addteh ground paste and saute well until it thickens and the oil begins to separate around the edges of the pan.
  4. Add about a liter of water and season with salt. Remember to exclude the crabs in your calculation of salt because they are quite salty by themselves.
  5. Once the curry comes to a boil, turn the heat down and add the crabs and the pineapple. Put on a lid and let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once cooked through (the crab shells will turn orange and the pineapple will be soft), turn off the heat and add the coconut milk.
  7. Serve hot with plain steamed rice.

My Jhola’s First Giveaway!

And now for the giveaway (another area where I’m stepping out of my comfort zone!). A lot of people have been asking if The Gore Family Cookbook I collated last year was on sale and where they might buy it. Especially after Vikram Doctor wrote about it in the Economic Times. Unfortunately, this was a limited edition book meant for private circulation. I do, however, have two copies to give away—I would love for my readers to partake of a bit of my family’s culinary heritage.

The Gore Family Cookbook

But it’s not that simple. *Wink!* Here’s what you need to do to grab a copy of The Gore Cookbook:

The two best renditions will receive a copy of The Gore Family Cookbook along with a small surprise. The only conditions are:

  • You must reside in India
  • Your blog or Facebook post on the recipe must carry a picture

 This giveaway is on till March 15, 2015.