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Dry Fish
Dried Beche-de-mer


An Introduction
Hairy Crabs with green shells and white bottoms, rich in fat and ovary, are shipped to restaurants all over the world. When the crabs are properly cooked, the fragrance appeals to diners' palate. There are such famous dishes like the crab meat bean curd, lily fruit in crab fat, rice cake in crab meat, delicacies much appreciated by diners.

Soft-shelled crabs are a delicacy, drawing a higher market value than their hard-shelled counterparts. These booms comes as health-conscious consumers opt for crab meat which is low in fat and cholesterol and high in minerals.

Crab Fiesta
One must check out the crab cooked with drumstick leaves, a popular dish of Sri Lanka. A bit like dynamite, it is best eaten with the bland idli to balance the taste in your mouth. The Chettinad Crab is a sharper dish with a fragrant sauce of toasted and ground fresh peppercorns and tomatoes. It is definitely not for the faint hearted and has a long glow rather than a scorch.

The Karavelli style of simmering crab in spicy gravy, goes well with the soft appams and iddiappams, is yet another offering that has to be tried. Fresh coconut is used as an ingredient for the wet masala and coconut milk is used to lend its unique flavour to the curry dish.

Those crazy about crab will die for the crunchy crab cakes. The crisp lightly packed beauties, perched atop a lush bed of lettuce, crowned

with parsley and drizzled with lemon sauce are a great treat any which way you look at it. Served with two roasted pepper sauces, one a mild red pepper sauce and the other a yellow pepper sauce with a light taste of mustard.

Then there is the Sichuan spicy sweet and sour crab. This is good. The spiciness comes from red chilli powder that causes your tongue to sizzle a little. The sweetness from the sugar and the sour taste from vinegar. The meat of the crab is sweet as well so this Chinese addition to the fare turns out to be quite interesting.

Crab mania - Crab and Leek Lasagne, Angel Hair Pasta with Crab Meat, Risotto with Crab and Spinach, Stir Fried Crab with Black Bean and Chilly Sauce, Crab flavoured soup and White Pomfret stuffed with crab meat - there are no two ways in the matter that the popularity of crab meat has risen dramatically. Crab is available in fresh, frozen and canned forms year-round.  It is crab-time, folks. Thus crabs are not always be sleepy crawlies. They can actually be a hot, spicy dish.

Currently, there is an increasing need for crab meat based fish paste products, frozen foods, soups, snack foods and the like and the demand for crab meat is increasing.
Definition of Crab Meat/Edible Crab
Edible Crab is scientifically known as Cancer pagurus. It is a species of crab found in the North Sea, North Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea.

It is 10-eyed, space ship-shaped horseshoe crab, a species that is a relative of the scorpion and the spider, is a fascinating shallow water creature.

Crabs are decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura, which typically have a very short projecting "tail" or where the reduced abdomen is entirely hidden under the thorax. They are generally covered with a thick exoskeleton, and are armed with a single pair of claws. 6793 species are known.

Edible crab is a robust crab of a reddish-brown colour, having an oval carapace with a characteristic "pie crust" edge and black tips to the claws. The majority of edible crabs have five pairs of legs, with the front legs being larger pinchers. One may use crabmeat in casseroles, crab cakes, soups, salads, and other dishes or enjoy cooked crabmeat with cocktail sauce.

Varieties of Edible Crabs

  • Blue Crab - Its latin name, Calinectes sapidus, means "beautiful swimmer," and it is indeed a beautiful blue-green color. This is the crab which also gives us soft-shell crabs. They range in size from 3-1/2 inches up to 5-1/2 inches or more on the market. These crabs do turn the traditional reddish color when cooked.
  • Dungeness Crab -  Latin name Cancer magister and it is a large crab usually weighing between 1-3/4 to 4 pounds and is brown to purple in color. It is named for the former small town of Dungeness on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, US, which first began commercially-harvesting the delicacy. Law requires the crab to be at least 6-1/4 inches long to be harvested, and only males can be taken. Prime season is in the winter months. The pink flesh is succulent and sweet.
  • Horseshoe Crab - Latin name Limulus polyphemus, this crab is named for its resemblance in shape to a horseshoe. It is considered a living fossil, tracing its roots back some 500 million years. It is found along the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to the Yucatan and along Asian coasts from Japan and the Philippines to India. And yes, they are indeed edible, although the ratio of meat to shell is small.
  • King Crab - Latin name Paralithodes camtschaticus, this giant crab is also often called "Alaskan King crab," "Japanese crab," and "Russian crab" due to its size, which can reach up to 25 pounds and measuring up to 10 feet. It may be large, but only about one-fourth is edible, primarily the legs and claws. Only males are harvested. The delicately-flavored meat is snowy white with a bright red outer edge.
  • Peekytoe Crab - These are Maine rock or sand crabs which were pretty much a throwaway by-product of lobster fishing before a brilliant marketing move changed their name to "peekytoes" around 1997. They are classified as Cancer irroratus, also known as bay crab and rock crab.
  • Rock Crab - Latin name Cancer quanbumi, it is found along the East coast of the US, living among rocks and in deep water. Its spindly legs make it resemble a spider, and is also known as "spider crab." "Snow crab," (Chionoecetes opilio) "tanner," and "queen crab" are also known as spider crabs.
  • Stone Crab - Latin name Menippe mercenaria, it is also called "moro" or "morro" crab. It has large, very hard claws that are prized for their meat. Most of the harvest comes from Florida, US, where it is a prized delicacy harvested from October 15 to May 15. Only the claws are eaten, so fishermen twist off one claw from crabs and toss them back to grow a new one. Crabs will regenerate their claws within 18 months. They are left with one claw to defend themselves. The law requires these claws to be boiled for 7 minutes and then either put on ice or frozen. The freezing process seems to remove an unpleasant iodine taste which is often noticed in the meat. To determine which claws have the most meat, they are floated in a tank of water, with the less meaty claws rising and being sold as "lights." To serve, the claws are cracked with a mallet and served cold with dipping sauces. Minimum size for claws is 2-2.75 ounces. The meat has a firm texture and a sweet, succulent flavor.

Preparation, Uses, and Tips
Hard-Shell Crab - To clean hard-shell crab, break off the belly flap on the underside of the shell. Pull shell off the back, starting from the rear. Remove gills from the body. Twist claws and legs off body. Crack the shell using a heavy nutcracker or small hammer. Cut body into halves. Pick out crabmeat using a metal pick, small fork, or the pointed tip at the end of the crab’s leg.

Soft-Shell Crab - To clean soft-shell crab, first cut off the face, using scissors. Lift the top shell and pull off and discard the gills. Pull off belly flap.
  • To Boil Live Crab
    • One needs to fill a large pan with 5 quarts (about 5 liters) of water and bring to a rapid boil. One at a time, plunge the crab headfirst into the boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes for small crabs, 15 to 20 minutes for large crabs. Immerse crabs in cold water for a few seconds when done so they don’t overcook.
  • Pan-Frying Soft-Shell Crab
    • Rinse prepared or thawed frozen crab in cold water. Dredge in flour or cornmeal and seasonings and shake off any excess. Heat oil or butter in frying pan until hot. Add crab and brown on each side for four to five minutes, turning once.
  • Broiling Crab Legs
    • Thaw frozen crab legs. Cut each leg shell down both sides with a sharp knife. Remove top of shell, leaving meat in the bottom. Place bottom shells in a shallow baking pan and brush with butter or oil, seasonings, and lemon juice. Place under broiler for four to five minutes, just until heated through.
  • Baking Crab Legs
    • Place whole cracked legs in a shallow baking pan. Brush with butter or oil, seasonings, and lemon juice. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about eight minutes.
  • Microwaving Crab Legs
    • Wrap whole or split crab legs in a damp paper towel and cook on high for about two minutes.
  • Buying and Storing Tips
    • Quality crab is easy to recognize. Fresh cooked crab smells fresh, with no hint of ammonia odor. The freshest crabs are alive and frisky. Ask how long they have been in the tank, and choose crabs that have been there less than a week. Discard any crab that dies before you can cook it. Fresh cooked crab has a bright red shell. Any exposed meat should be white and moist, not dried out or yellow.
    • Put live crab in a bowl, cover with wet paper towels, and keep in the refrigerator for no more than 12 hours. Fresh cooked crab is best eaten the same day you buy it but will keep safely in the refrigerator for up to two days.
    • Keep pasteurized crabmeat in the refrigerator for up to six months but not for longer than four days after opening the package.
    • To freeze crabmeat, wrap it carefully in freezer paper or plastic and over-wrap with a plastic bag. Store for up to two months.
    • To thaw, place the crab in the refrigerator overnight. To thaw more quickly, wrap crab in waterproof plastic and place in a sink with cool running water, allowing about 30 minutes per pound (454 grams). For fastest thawing, use the defrost cycle of your microwave. Place crab in a shallow microwave-safe bowl, defrost three to five minutes per half pound (227g), then allow to stand for three minutes.
Nutritional Composition of Crab Meat
Crab meat provides a good source of protein, vitamin and essential mineral substances. It also contains phosphor, zinc, bronze, calcium, iron, and little amount of fat, especially saturated fat substances. However, it contains a high content of cholesterol and most of the health organizations in the world suggest that people should eat no more than 300mg of crab meat per day.   

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