Friday, December 31, 2010

The Food Desert Project - Masala Curry Crab Souffle

One of my early recipes in the Food Desert Project on was this soufflé. At the time, I didn't understand why it didn't rise above the casserole like they were supposed to. There are a couple of reasons: one, the first one used only 3 eggs, and just didn't have sufficient volume. Second, this recipe uses the same number of whites and yolks (I can't stand waste) and therefore doesn't have the lift other recipes do. In this version, I use 4 eggs - it still didn't rise up over the top of the dish, but it looked fine.

Curried softshell crab is a favorite dish of mine in Thai restaurants; converting it to a food-desert friendly recipe presented several problems. I adapted the Masala Curry sauce from an Indian recipe which I'd link, but the original site has disappeared. Even so, it took a bit of guesswork and google-translating: if you find an Indian recipe in English, translate curd as yogurt, and jeera are cumin seeds. The resulting sauce is flavorful and spicy, and worked quite well with the mild-flavored soufflé - but we found we LOVE it as a sauce for meatloaf.

Crab Soufflé:
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp breadcrumbs - canned or fresh, if fresh, allow to dry out before use
1 cup milk
1 tbsp sherry
2 cans crabmeat, drained – reserving liquid for masala sauce
¼ cup of minced canned red peppers, well drained
1 tsp dried parsley
4 eggs, separated
½ tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 325.

Thoroughly butter a soufflé dish and coat in breadcrumbs.

Make a thick béchamel: melt the butter over low heat and add the flour, increasing heat to medium-high. When flour begins to bubble and smell nutty, add the milk and whisk thoroughly. Flavor with a teaspoon of sherry and turn off the heat.

Fold in the crabmeat, peppers, parsley, salt, paprika, and mustard. Allow to cool. Mix the 3 egg yolks well, and then add them to the cooled mixture.

In a clean bowl or your stand mixer, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form.

Add ¼ of the egg whites to the crab mixture and mix it in to lighten it.

Add crab mixture to the egg whites and fold in gently, keeping as much air as possible in your mixture.

Pour gently into soufflé dish and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes without opening the door; check – soufflé is done when a skewer comes out clean.

While soufflé is baking, make Masala Curry Sauce

Masala Curry Sauce:

¼ cup of rehydrated dried onions (about 2 ½ tbsp dried onion flakes, soaked in ¼ cup white wine overnight)
2 tsp canned garlic
2 tsp powdered ginger, rehydrated in 2 tsp white wine overnight
½ cup tomato puree
2 tsp whole cumin, or 1 tsp ground
4 bay leaves
2 tsp food desert garam masala
2 tsp chili flakes
½ cup plain yogurt mixed with 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup of reserved crab liquid (add water to make up cup)
¼ cup oil

Put the rehydrated onions, garlic, and ginger in a blender and blend thoroughly into a paste. Heat oil in a frying pan; add cumin, bay leaves, chili flakes and garam masala; fry until fragrant. Reduce heat, and add onion mixture, fry a few minutes and add tomato puree, fry for a few minutes, then add the crab liquid and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. If using whole spices, remove bay leaves, pour into a blender and puree, or blend with a stick blender. Cool slightly; stir in yogurt.  Serve over warm scoops of the souffle.

Nutrition Information

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