Wednesday, September 1, 2010

can a crab be soused? NOW WITH EXTRA PEPPER

remember these? got them on an a spur of the moment lobster hunt that took us to mayaro. well, i was trying to find something to do with them. didn't want to do something regular like curry. crab and callaloo sounded kinda tempting, but that would require making other elements to create a meal... well for me at least. crab sushi came up, but who goin to crack open all dat crab and take out the meat to make sushi? that's what the tin is there for. then i heard something that made me pause a bit... crab souse. WHAT?! can a crab be soused? it doesn't look like a sousy kinda critter. but then, i thought... that really might work though. lime... seafood... seasoning... nothing strange about that. why not?

one problem though. i never made souse with anything before. actually, the first time i ate souse wasn't too long ago when my friend jo told me to sample his souse. after that experience, i understand how crack addicts can chase a high. whenever his souse is available, i will partake. i am also on a constant look out for a souse comparable. nothing has presented itself as yet. anyway, i asked jo what he thought about a crab souse and he agreed it was an interesting idea. then came his recommendations.

so he said the key to souse is lime. considering we're dealing with seafood, that might be twice as true. so after washing and scrubbing these pieces as if my life depended on it, i soaked the crab in water, salt and about 5 limes. oh yeah... about them shells. well when they kill and clean the crab for you, they should cut off the tops of the gundy and the top of the legs for reasons such as these. sauce and seasonings can soak in through the little holes and your crab meat can get flavour.

i left it covered in the fridge overnight.

the next day, i passed through the garden up morvant to get some of that fresh stuff. shadon beni, chive, celery, parsley, big leaf thyme, hot peppers and garlic. i went heavy on the chive as directed by jo, followed closely by shadon beni. also grabbed 2 cucumbers. what's a souse without cucumber right? i also grabbed some more limes. well, he did say its all about the limes.

chop up, dice up, slice up... yuh know the drill. at this point i remembered the onions. looked in the fridge. not an onion in sight. oh well! hope the chive steps up.

with all that going on, i didn't think i needed much more spices. so i just took out some salt and some black peppercorns to grind in.

poured everything into the pot, salt... black pepper... fire fuh dat!

i put in a few cucumber slices to cook with the sauce so they could lend their flavour and probably get a little pickled in the process. the other cucumbers went in after the cooking so they could stay crunchy. by this time, the kitchen was smelling good. it's crab, so it doesn't really take long to cook. i let it bubble for about 15 minutes or so. but hey! this is bring it to the table... who's countin anyway?!

so after taking it off the fire, letting it cool and putting it back in the fridge to bring it up to souse temperature, this came out. the consistency of the sauce wasn't like that of a pig foot or cow heel. and rightfully so. crab is not as fatty, so it wouldn't do the same thing. but it did smell like the real deal. but being a novice souse eater and even less experienced souse maker, i called in the jury to decide.

juror number 1 was chinyere. she said it was good, but it was no souse. more like a crab soup with a souse flavour. so much so, she was wondering what it would taste like hot. from the hissing i knew it had good pepper. not for chinyere who doesn't really eat pepper, but the fact that she was hissing but not stopping said something. so i got a pass mark there. maybe not for a souse though. for something that tasted good.

juror number 2 was kesi. more of a pepper man, so he was comfortable with the heat. after establishing that this was nowhere close to jo even on his worst day, he said it was way better than he expected. still not a convincing souse, but a nice tasting thing. he even suggested that i treat it like a broth (similar to what chinyere was suggesting), buy some crab meat, make some crab cakes and serve something like that. a damn good idea if you ask me.

not keeping it refrigerated for more than a night, so i have 3 more jurors to pass judgment. a souse expert, a crab lover and a souse lover. so until then, the jury is still out on this one. but for this creation...


leh we bubble!


the crab lover's comments (iz a facebook link so...)
"Was a lil iffy when I heard crab and souse in the same sentence but I love crab, so I had to try it. Well, when I smell it all hesitancy went out the door and meh mouth start to water. Ah delve in wholeheartedly. It was bess! You can te...ll from the smell and the taste that it was souse, different texture and consistency, but souse nonetheless. I find it coulda do with a lil more pepper... for me, souse have to burn, i need to hissing like a snake. While the sauce was a tad spicy, the crab - not so much. The cucumber had all the pepper. Would eat it again blind-folded (which is hard to do with crab)..."

the souse lover also endorsed it and said it tasted like what a crab souse would taste like. BUT, i think the next one would be a boss souse. think i have it worked out now. hahaha!!!


  1. Crab....yummo! Coulda call a sistren. You can get the frozen REAL crab meat at the seafood place opposite Long Circular Mall. I get almost all my seafood there; and the prices cool. Your seasoning was on point, but it's true, though. Crab is something that don't have much meat, so that souse would need more to it; like some green fig. Yuh souse look great, though. Pieces!

  2. Quincy, the key to any cooking is to SAUTEE the garlic and the crab together, before adding the rest of ingredients. All food will come out sligggghtly boring without it. SAUTEE man. And if yuh wanted a lil heavier consistency in the sauce, put a sprinkle of flour when yuh sautee the crab.

  3. yuh know randy, i was wondering if to do that. it didn't seem like a right step fuh souse. i never see sauteed tings in souse. and de expert eh say nuttn bout dat too. but i doh really bat with rules, so i was thinking about trying it. i think i will try that next time, but with a more "traditional" ingredient to see what happens.

    de flour thing ah doh support though. i eh go put flour in a souse water. bess it stay thin.

    but on the sautee thing. daz not entirely true. sautee is a nice technique that i like, but there are many other ways to get flavour. yuh sure it will taste good if yuh sautee with garlic, but yuh also run the risk of all yuh food tastin similar if yuh take a similar approach. logic. which is fine if yuh like that. but i like to change up my flavours. try marinating meat and different tings like dat. pickling an ting. is just different taste profiles. yuh might prefer one over the other doh and daz fine. but fuh me, diversity important. it doh hadda be boring without garlic.

  4. hear na...this was an emotional thing to poor brain was happy and confused with a sense of longing from start to finish...

    as is, I liked it...every shell-crack and meat-suction was a pleasure ...but amidst the tongue lashing I still wanted more...more of I don't even know...

    on one hand I was like...this water brothy...why it cold? ground provisions? (Kesi idea mad tho, yeah it win)...

    simultaneously I thought... but this still somewhat sousey man!...the cucumbers...yes... (not the 'pickled ones though - didn't like those)...maybe the sousey-ness really struggled because of the lack of onions...I feel so too...

    Take props though...either way you have something special in the making *belly rub*

  5. ah feelin left out eh where mine

  6. nah... i eh treatin yuh like a nobody. dis was trial run. ah have it down now. ah go call a lime an buss it again.

  7. I guess versions of souse differ, to me, that sounding like real lime and sour. Perhaps instead of just cracking the top of the Gundy, you could prob give a general crack to the shell to help everything soak in during the boiling. Lack of onion Q..tsk tsk.. real important. But yuh real think outside the box. Kudos!

  8. sad wid the onion eh mandy.. sad. next time ah will know better!!