Khangkhrai Jwng Maitha Jwng : a curry of river crab with roselle
Maitha is one herb, Bodos seem to love and eat in plenty, mostly cooked with fish. It tastes sour. A bunch of this herb adds to the flavour, enhancing the taste of daal if added while cooking.
A few Bodo terminologies :
1.Khangkhrai : crab
2.Maitha : roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
3.Jwng : with
Bodos cook a wide variety of delicious dishes with crab, which is low in saturated fat, yet a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B12, protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium. But not to forget the fact that crabs are high in cholesterol and sodium.
Crabs are found both in fresh waters as well as low laying areas where rain water collects leaving the area muddy in semi tropical regions like Assam. It's amazing watching young boys diving into the river and hunt for crabs that live on the river bed in holes. It does need an expert pair of hands to catch crabs under water. They catch crabs with hands by holding the crab from behind avoiding the deadly pinch from a crab pincer.
Quite a few variety of crabs are found here.The best is Khangkhrai Alari, extremely delicious with plenty of fat. They are found in the paddy fields. After the cultivation and first shower of the season, they come out to the surface and get caught.
Khangkhrai Bathwn and Ondla Jwng Khangkhrai Jwng are two other delicious indigenous crab dishes Bodos love.
Method of cleaning:
Wash well, break the shell in half ...
... discard the shell after removing the crab meat and fat from inside.
The crab meat
To cook this Bodo delicacy, you need :
khangkhrai 1 and 1/2 kg (In this recipe I have used Khangkhrai Alari which is the tastiest)
maitha 1 bunch
paste of 1 onion
paste of 12 pods garlic
chilly to taste
salt to taste
turmeric 1 tsp
mustard oil 2 tbsp
Heat oil, fry onion and garlic paste along with chilly. Add turmeric and salt, keep stirring.
Add the crab meat, stir fry.
Fry till golden brown.
Put in the cleaned and washed maitha, keep stirring till it dissolves.
Once the maitha gets dissolved .....
..... pour in 2 cups water, cover and cook till the crab meat is tender. check salt and remove from flame.
Serve this delicacy with a plate of steamed rice.