Curry Crab And Dumpling Recipe – Taste a True Tobago Treat
The typical reaction most newcomers have at their first sight of Tobago’s signature dish, curry crab and dumpling (CnD for short), isn’t particularly kind. I mean just take a look at the photo above. That’s a pretty scary-looking collection of edible entities!
In the case of CnD, though, all that ugly adds up to something insanely yummy. And just as important to your visitor experience on the island; something uniquely Tobagonian.
For those who can’t find themselves in Tobago, but still crave this treat, we’ve added a recipe below adapted from our favorite cookbook.
Trinidad vs Tobago
Though united as one country under that glorious black and white-sashed red flag, Trinidad and Tobago are distinctly different places. Trinidad, of course, is way larger. In and around its capital, Port-of-Spain, its cosmopolitan vibe is on-par with the busiest commercial centers throughout Latin America.
Tobago? That’s where you go to lime and chill-out. Totally laid-back, and very much about the beach and the sea, Tobago is in many ways the yin to Trinidad’s yang.
Interestingly enough, if history had been a bit different, Tobago might not be anything to Trinidad’s yang.
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During the initial 200 years of its colonial history, Tobago changed hands 33 times among the English, French, Dutch, and Spanish. Eventually, the English seized control and Tobago prospered as an independent Crown Colony in its own right. By the late-1880’s, though, the island’s economy and those of other Crown Colonies throughout the West Indies were failing. This caused the British to dramatically change the course of Tobago’s history.
Basically, the British decided to save money by combining the administration of a few of their islands. At the time, Tobago could’ve just as easily become paired with Grenada as it became with Trinidad. The deciding factor: distance.
Tobago is only about 20 miles from Trinidad, while Grenada is a good 90 miles up the island chain. Naturally, the British went with Trinidad.
Regardless of the new arrangement, after all those hundreds of years steering its own development, Tobago remained independent from a cultural perspective.
Actually, I should say Tobago “remains” pretty independent. Evidence of the island’s unique cultural heritage is still prevalent today.
Oh sure, there are a lot more roti shops here than even just a few years ago. A sure sign of increasing influence from Trinidad. At the same time, though, you can find and enjoy purely Tobagonian things. Cultural experiences like Goat Racing, the Blue Food Festival, Olde Time Tobago Weddings in Moriah, Tambrin music, Speech Bands, and more are unique to the destination.
Miss Trim’s for the best curry crab and dumpling
For sure, one of the best and most pure tastes of Tobago is curry crab and dumpling. And one of the best places to get it is Miss Trim’s down on Store Bay, that gorgeous beach pictured above.
Miss Trim’s is one of a number of small food stalls located back off the beach. Most of them sell CnD, but I say Miss Trim’s is the best. This is mainly because my Dad says so, though my stomach also agrees. The curry-stained shirt I happened to be wearing the day I snapped all these pics is further proof.
Enjoying curry crab and dumpling
Eating this stuff is an investment in time and napkins (and whatever you might be wearing). The first thing you need to know is that the dumplings are seriously filling. So don’t make the rookie mistake of getting too full on them before you get at the crab meat.
Oh, and speaking of getting at the crab meat, believe me, it’s an ordeal in and of itself.
It’s not like Miss Trim gives you a nutcracker, or a hammer, or those skinny sharp things to extract the meat. If you’re eating where you’re ordering, then your tools are as basic as can be.
First, you have your hands, which you’ll need to pry the crab limbs apart.
Next, you have your mouth. You know, to suck out the meat.
At some points, it’s even advantageous to crack the crab shell with your teeth. Just take care spitting out the hard bits along the way.
Unlike roti, doubles and other Trini treats available throughout Tobago, curry crab and dumpling is true Tobago through and through. It’s real messy and takes a really long time to eat. In the end, though, most everyone agrees that it’s really, really good!
The Best curry crab and dumpling recipe
Don’t be put off by its appearance… If you love crab and curry and the real Tobago, this is a meal you just can’t miss! Our recipe comes with slight modifications from The Naparima Girls Highschool Cookbook — the only cookbook you’ll ever need for every West Indian dish your heart could ever desire!
Unlike roti, doubles and other Trini treats available throughout Tobago, curry crab and dumplings is truely Tobagonian through and through. It can be a bit messy and take a while to eat, but it’s really, really worth it!
- 4 large Crabs (bonus points for Caribbean blue crab)
- 4 tbsp Margarine
- 1/2 cup Chopped Onion
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 tbsp Green Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp Fresh Ginger
- 2 tbsp Curry Powder
- 1 cup Coconut Milk
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1 cup Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water
- Let’s start by cleaning the crab and cutting it into sections.
- In a medium pot, on medium heat margarine. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and green seasoning. Cook until onion becomes translucent.
- Add the curry. Add the coconut milk. Simmer for 1 minute.
- Add the crab and water. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes.
- For the dumplings, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
- Stir in water. The dough should be soft enough to drop from a spoon.
- Pick out small bits of dough and roll finger-sized dumplings in the palm of your hand.
- Drop the dumplings in one at a time as you get them done.
- Cover tightly, reduce heat, and cook for 25-30 minutes. Add more water, if needed.
- Serve and enjoy!