Another island recipe for you. This one is Jamaican and a favourite of mine, might I add. I seriously want to win you guys over with some Island food. Don’t worry there will be more traditional and modified versions of Caribbean style food coming your way very soon, so watch this space.
While I have your attention I’m sure you’re probably wondering what on earth is rundown? I bet you’re reading this with a perplexed expression on your face. Am I reading this correctly? What the heck is she taking about? Was there a grammatical error in the title?
Well the answer is no to all of those rhetorical questions. Essentially, rundown is a local term used to describe a slow simmer. The terminology shreds light on reference to seafood being simmered in coconut milk until the consistency begins to thicken or almost curdle.
There are various adaptations of rundown, another more popular variant is mackerel rundown. Curried crab rundown is like the little sister to it’s mackerel counterpart. The flavours are worlds apart, yet the key ingredient remains the same, the use of coconut milk.
Now this curried crab rundown is brimming with flavour from many different herbs and spices – ginger, curry powder, allspice (pimento) scotch bonnet, thyme and pepper. The ginger is not only a good source of relief for inflammation but also adds a hint of warmth.
I honesty think the ginger paired with the coconut milk are the stars of the show in this recipe. That’s not to say the other ingredients don’t play their own role, but I feel you will notice the aforementioned first and foremost.
I do recommend using full fat coconut milk rather than relying on a batch of the homemade kind. Reason being the full fat milk has more body which is required for that thickish/curdling texture. Might I add, this curried crab recipe is made slightly different from it’s big sister, mackerel rundown in the respect that the curdling take places in the frying pan as opposed to pouring the milk into a separate pot to curdle and then adding to the pan to simmer (you’ll find this cooking method popular with the older generation).
Things have evolved a lot with many people adopting their own way of cooking traditional island food. It doesn’t really make a huge difference whether you curdle the milk in a frying pan or in a saucepan as the results will be identical.
Rundown made with fish is traditionally served with bananas, dumpling and/or what’s known as ground provisions (root vegetables). Green bananas are readily available at any local ethnic grocery store, in fact you will find many Caribbean ingredients in locations that have a large Caribbean/African/Asian (i.e Indian) community. If you’re not from the Islands, go ahead and challenge yourself to seek these ingredients, even ask for help and familiarise yourself a little.
I paired this with green banana, just like my grandmother taught me and with some spinach as I didn’t have any callaloo on hand. If you’re in doubt of how to cook green bananas, please check out my tutorial right here.
This island dish is suitable for a gluten free or paleo lifestyle – added bonus and packed with fibre, potassium and protein.
- 1 pound of crab meat (fresh crab meat, deshelled)
- 1 medium sized onion, sliced
- 2 large scallion, chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tbsp of curry power
- ½ tbsp of ginger, minced
- ¼ tsp of allspice or 2 pimento balls
- ½tbsp of dried thyme
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- ½ tsp worth of finely chopped scotch bonnet
- 2tbsp of coconut oil
- 2 cups of full fat coconut milk
- Himalayan pink salt and pepper to taste
- Start by preheating a frying pan with coconut oil on medium heat and saute the scallion, onion and garlic for 1 minute until slightly brown and then adding the garlic and curry powder.
- Combine and toss everything so it's coated in the yellow curry colour and fragrant.
- Stir in the allspice/pimento, thyme along with the tomatoes and season with the desired amount of pink salt and pepper then add the finely chopped scotch bonnet.
- Pour the coconut milk into the pan and reduce the flame to low.
- Simmer for a few minutes before adding the crab meat, then continue to simmer for a further 10-15 minutes with the lid on or until the desired thickness is reached. Keep in mind, the coconut milk will thicken as it begins to simmer.
- Serve with green bananas and/or ground provisions.