A crab curry – given the per kilo price for crabs – is one of the most expensive Durban-style curries to make.
1. It’s also an intimate dish that involves using your hands and mouth a lot, what with all the loud biting and crunching of shells and the sloppy chiseling out of crab meat with your thumb – i.e. it’s not exactly a first date dish.
So if someone cooks this curry for you or invites you over to share one you can be sure that they really like you and are super comfortable around you. You should probably marry this person.
2. Eating a crab curry is, apart from working on an oil rig, one of the most messiest activities known to humankind. Crab juice and curry squirts everywhere, into your eyes, onto the person sitting opposite you; it dribbles down your chin, and it stains your clothing.
Crab curry stains are harder to get out than an in-form Hashim Amla, so it’s strongly advised that you purchase a special t-shirt, to be used ONLY for eating crab curry. Of course, you could also use a bib or napkin but those items are best left for amateur crab curry eaters.
After several years your crab-eating t-shirt will be a beautiful patchwork of built-up curry gravy stains, a sort of abstract impressionist painting of poor table manners.
3. Warning: No matter how proud you are of your crab curry t-shirt never ever show it to visitors to your home. It is not, as this author has sadly learnt, the conversation piece you think it is.
4. A perfect crab curry is black-brown-red in colour and its gravy is thin yet deeply rich in flavour, both sour and very spicy at the same time. In fact, a good crab curry is so hot that it should cause your eyes to tear and your nose to run.
Tip: if your wife, husband or partner is emotionally distant feed them crab curry every day and they will be bawling their eyes out in no time. That’s right, crab curry could very well save your relationship.
5. In terms of etiquette it’s very acceptable and indeed expected to stick a crab leg into your mouth and to loudly suck out the delicious curried-juices.
However it is NOT acceptable to blow into the crab leg, pretending that it’s a saxophone and that you are John Coltrane.
6. After you have eaten a crab curry, it’s gravy will have, crab t-shirt or not, left its mark and odour on your body. Thus, it is strongly advised that you take two showers.
The first shower should be taken in conjunction with using a powerful sheep dip as a disinfectant to get rid of any trace of the curry. Once dried off with a towel, you should take a second shower to rid yourself of the poisonous sheep dip which has now likely seeped into your skin.
A little sheep dip poisoning is par for the course for eating crab curry so ignore the retching and think fondly to your next crab feast.