Spiced Crab with Roasted Bell Peppers and a Mint, Coriander and Date sauce.
It has been a wonderful summer this year in the UK. We have sunshine aplenty, and of course most Brits will still complain. Too hot they say. Well the heat is a little uncomfortable but sunshine makes everyone happy. Sunny evenings make the post work, post baby bedtime hours a little more special.
This recipe is inspired by the very hot and sunny climes of southern India. Soft flakes of white crab are of course delicious unadorned, but here we have quickly panfried them with some spices and then placed them into oven roasted mini peppers (bell peppers). The pop of colour from the pepper makes this an attractive starter dish or a luxurious canape for summer entertaining. We served it with the warm crab freshly cooked and served in the cooled bell peppers. On the side is a herby sauce- mint and coriander with a sweet heat from fresh chilli and dates. It is quickly made (we used the vitamix we are currently testing) though you could use a conventional blender and just pulse it a little longer.
First cut the peppers in half and brush them with olive oil, before roasting them till the skins are charred a little.
The crab looks luscious – a golden colour from turmeric, cumin and has a zing from lime along with coriander and some garlic and chilli. It needs very little cooking as you don’t want to overdo it, simply using a gentle heat to help the flavours to melt into it.
- For the Crab:
- 6 small red bell peppers washed and cut in half
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (1 for basting the peppers and 1 for sauteeing the crab)
- 1 spring onion chopped finely
- 0.5cm cube of ginger chopped finely
- 1 clove garlic chopped finely
- half teaspoon chopped fresh red chilli
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- quarter teaspoon turmeric
- quarter teaspoon cumin
- 100g white crabmeat
- Juice and grated zest of 1 small lime
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
- For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 star anise pod
- Half a tablespoon of sugar (add a little more or less according to your taste)
- Quarter teaspoon tamarind extract
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons mint
- 2 dates
- half a chopped green chilli
- Preheat oven to 200Deg C (400DegF).
- Brush the peppers with olive oil and scatter some sea salt (Kosher salt) over it
- Place in an ovenproof dish cut side up and roast for around 15 to 20 minutes or until the skin is just charred.
- Remove and leave to cool.
- Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan with the sugar and star anise.
- Stir and when the sugar melts, remove and discard the anise.
- Place the sweet vinegar into a Vitamix or blender
- Add in all the other ingredients for the sauce and blend to a sauce consistency.
- Heat the remaining oil in a medium frying pan
- Cook the spring onions and ginger till they are just softening then add the garlic, chilli, mustard seed, turmeric and cumin. Heat for a minute to release the aroma then add in the crabmeat and stir gently to combine the flavours.
- Add in the grated zest of lime, and sprinkle the lime juice over.
- Mix in the coriander leaves and season with salt to taste.
- To assemble fill the pepper halves with crabmeat, and add a teaspoon of the sauce. We allowed for 3 halves of pepper per person.