Curry was adopted and anglicised from the Tamil word kari (கறி) meaning ‘sauce’, which is usually understood to mean vegetables and/or meat cooked with spices with or without a gravy. According to this theory, kari was first encountered in the mid-17th century by members of the British East India Company trading with Tamil merchants along the Coromandel Coast of southeast India, particularly at Fort St. George (later called Madras and renamed Chennai in 1996). Here, they became familiar with “a spice blend used for making kari dishes … called kari podi (powder) or curry powder.”
2 Stalks lemon grass
2 tsp Tamarind
1/2 cup Boiling water
1 Handful coriander leaves
3 Cloves garlic
1 tbs Fresh galangal
2 To 3 birdseye chillies, -seeded
1 t Blachan
1 t Tumeric
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbs Oil
2 cups Coconut milk
- Cut the 4 crabs into quarters with a cleaver or large knife. With a hammer, gently crack the claws and harder sections of shell.
- Finely chop 6 shallots and 2 stalks lemon grass. Steep 2 teaspoons tamarind in half a cup of boiling water. Chop a handful of fresh coriander leaves.
- In a food processor, grind together 3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon fresh galangal, 2-3 birdseye chillies, seeded, 4 candlenuts (or substitute 8-10 cashews) and 1 teaspoon blachan (hard dark brown shrimp paste), 1 teaspoon turmeric and salt and pepper to taste. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large wok or pan, and fry the paste until fragrant. Add shallots, lemon grass, crab pieces and 2 cups coconut milk.
- Simmer for quarter of an hour. Strain the tamarind water and add half to the sauce. Taste and add more if you wish. Ladle curvy into a serving dish and scatter the fresh coriander on top. Serve with plain rice.