Puritans will tell you that you need smoke and fire from pimento wood to get that real authentic Jamaican flavor when doing “jerk” and I’d be crazy to disagree. However, with this recipe in particular… I humbly think you achieve “jerk” greatness on the stove-top. Plus I live in Canada where there’s no pimento wood and our winters are very HARSH to be grilling outside all year!
3 lbs Crab (cleaned)
4 cloves garlic (smashed or grated)
1 tablespoon ginger (diced fine or grated)
5 birds eye pepper
1 medium onion (diced)
3-4 scallions (chopped – divided)
2 sticks cinnamon
3/4 tablespoon ground allspice
2 scotch bonnet peppers (chopped)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/4 tablespoon brown sugar
10 sprigs thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 lemon (juice)
Get your fish monger to clean the crab for you or clean then by removing the backs off the crab (discard) and clean the sort of gills.. then rinse with the juice or a lime or lemon (not mentioned in the ingredient list) and water. I’d also recommend cracking the bigger claws, to get extra flavor when cooked.
I’d recommend prepping the other ingredients at this time so when you get started, it would make for easy work. The goal is to keep is simple and tasty.
Heat the oil in a wide pan on medium heat, then add the onion, garlic and Bird’s Eye peppers (called bird pepper in the Southern Caribbean). Turn the heat down to as low as it will go as we don’t want to burn the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Now add the black pepper, diced ginger, scallions (1/2) and thyme and cook on low for a further 2-3 minutes. After which you’ll add the scotch Bonnet peppers. Remove the seeds if you’d like to tame down the heat level a bit. It’s also important that you wear gloves and wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling such hot peppers. May I also recommend turning the fan on over your stove or open your kitchen window to vent your kitchen.
Give it all a good stir, then add the allspice, brown sugar, cinnamon, soy sauce and salt. Stir well, then add the orange juice and water .. heat still on low.
It’s now time to add the cleaned crabs to the pot and give it a really good stir. Turn the heat up to medium to bring it to a sort of boil/simmer. To assist, place a lip on the pot you’re using. As you see a simmer, turn the heat down to maintain that simmer and keep the lid on. We’ll try to steam-cook the crabs with all this lovely flavors.
Cook on that simmer for about 8 minutes (with the lid on) and be sure to stir it about 3-4 times during the cooking. Top with the other 1/2 of the scallions, cook for 2 more minutes.. then it’s time to ENJOY!
Probably not your typical way of making/enjoying crab, but I assure you, you’ll be blown away by the flavors of this classic pescatarian dish. Be warned that it may be a bit spicy, but you can definitely tailor the heat level to your liking.
Do you own a copy of my cookbook ?- The Vibrant Caribbean Pot 100 Traditional And Fusion recipes Vol 2