This sort of dish is typically done with fresh ocean or mangrove crabs in the Caribbean. However, the few times I can get crayfish (or is it crawfish?) locally here in Hamilton, Ontario – I jump at the chance to put them to use. This recipe is based on the classic Curry Crab and Dumplings that Tobago is known for.
3-4 lbs crayfish
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Lemon or lime for washing
1 heaping tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
1 tomato (diced)
2 scallions (chopped)
1 scotch bonnet pepper (diced)
2 tablespoon veg oil
1/2 large onion (diced)
2 pimento peppers (optional)
4-6 cloves garlic (smashed)
2 tablespoon Curry powder (your fav)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon Parsley (chopped)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup cassava flour
3/4- 1 cup water (for the dough)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Wash the crayfish with the juice of a lime or lemon and cool water. Watch the video below if you want to learn how to devein a crayfish (as we do with shrimp). Then season with the black pepper, Caribbean Green seasoning, tomato, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper and salt.
I then went ahead and made a soft dough from the ingredients listed above for the dumplings. Adjust the water if needs be, to achieve a firm but soft dough . Cover with a damp paper towel as we cook the crayfish.
FYI I cooked this dish last summer while the temperature outside allowed me to use a traditional coal pot (cooked over a live fire from wood and/or coals). Watch the video below to see what I mean, if you’re not familiar with a traditional coalpot. However you may use the same instructions here, to cook this dish indoors or on a propane bbq outdoors.
In a heavy pot, heat the oil, then add the garlic, onion and pimento peppers (aka seasoning pepper) to the pot and cook on low heat for 2 minutes. Then with the heat still on low, add your fav curry powder and cook off the rawness of the curry. It can take between 3-5 minutes. This will also allow the spices which makes up the curry blend to bloom and release their wonderful flavors. Don’t burn the curry please! Stir as it cooks on the LOW heat. As you can imagine, it was difficult to maintain the low heat on the coal-pot as there’s no knob to turn high or low (smile).
With that lovely curry aroma in the air, it’s time to crank up the heat to med-high and add the seasoned crayfish to the pot. Stir well to coat it all with that curry base.
After about 4-5 minutes, add the coconut milk and water to the pot and bring it up to a boil. During this time we can make the spinner dumplings. Basically the shape of small cigars or a fat cigarette. Pinch off some dough and roll it between your hands to form – watch the video below. Then add them to the pot. You may need to push the crayfish to the side for the dumplings to settle in.
After about 6 minutes, taste the gravy for salt and adjust to your liking. The flour will help to thicken the gravy and to the residual heat form the pot will also thicken things up – be mindful of that. Add more water or coconut milk if you wish. As you move the pot off the heat, top with the parsley (cilantro or shado beni is much better – but I had none)
A CLASSIC one pot curry seafood dish which is guaranteed to make you a superstar to anyone you serve this to. If you can, please support. And should you have questions about this recipe or anything food related, be sure to Ask Chris.