Crab and Dumplings (Tobago)

Photo by Con Poulos

“Trinbagonian” cuisine is among the Caribbean’s most varied, featuring African, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern and other influences. This classic dish from Tobago uses the island’s ever-present “green seasoning,” which can be made with whatever herbs and alliums you have on hand.

Caribbean Flavors
Ingredients
  • Green seasoning (recipe below)
  • 4 pounds raw blue crabs, chopped into large pieces (can substitute legs and claws from larger crabs, 2 pounds raw medium shrimp or 1 pound cooked lump crab meat)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt, plus additional to taste
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • ½ cup fish stock or water
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • Sugar, to taste (optional)
  • Lime wedges and chopped cilantro (for garnish)
Directions

Rub green seasoning all over shell-on crab or shrimp. Set aside at least 30 minutes. ­Refrigerate if it rests more than 1 hour.

To make dumplings: Mix flour and salt with just enough water until it feels like soft bread dough. Wrap in plastic. Let rest at least 30 minutes. Roll half the dough into cylinder about 1 inch in diameter. Make ¾-inch-thick slices. With remainder of dough, make walnut-sized balls and pat into thin ovals, making small dumplings.

While dough rests, heat oil in wide soup pot or large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and cumin. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix curry powder with ½ cup water to make slurry. Add curry mixture to pot. Stir frequently until it becomes dry paste. Add stock. Scrape pan bottom, then add coconut milk. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer about 15 minutes. Add shell-on crab or shrimp and red pepper, then simmer 5 minutes. Add oval dumplings and cook 10 minutes, adding more stock or water if sauce becomes too thick. Add salt and/or sugar to taste. If using cooked crab meat, add and stir gently to warm.

Meanwhile, bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add sliced dumplings, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until they float and are fully cooked, about 10–15 minutes. Drain well.

Divide dumplings among 6 shallow bowls. Ladle in crab with lots of sauce. Garnish with lime and cilantro. Serves 6.

Green Seasoning Ingredients
  • 4 scallions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1 Cubanelle or other sweet, mild chili pepper (like banana or Anaheim), stemmed
Green Seasoning Directions

Combine all ingredients in food processor. Pulse into rough purée.

Pair It

Huia 2015 Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough). With its hints of cut grass greenery, bright grapefruit flavors and crisp acidity, this sophisticated, balanced wine is a natural with this rich, herbal, briny curry. Clean and refreshing, it’s medium bodied, but leaves a big, vibrant impression.

Published on September 26, 2016
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



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