I found these land crabs at the market downtown in St. George’s one day when I was down there buying souvenirs with friends. They were sold by the bunch, about 4-5 to each bunch, still squirming around on the ground. Since these were land crabs, they stayed alive the whole ride home, and even throughout the day. I kept them back on my balcony, just in case. The locals make a Caribbean crab and dumpling curry with the crabs, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the floury dumplings and overwhelming curry flavor, so I decided just to steam them with some local beer. Here’s how to cook and prepare them.
Steamed Land Crabs with Carib Beer
4-5 small land crabs
2 bottles beer (Carib or other brand)
1 bunch scallions
5-inch chunk of ginger, sliced thickly
1. Soak the crabs in water to clean them. They are still alive, so be very careful. I kept them tied up so I wouldn’t get pinched.
2. Using tongs, clean off what you can of the crabs. I held the crabs with tongs in one hand while I used chopsticks and a sponge to scrub in the other.
3. Meanwhile, lay the stalks of scallions in the pot after you’ve rinsed them. Lay the slice of ginger down too. Pour the beer over the scallions and ginger.
4. Once it starts to boil, place your crabs in the pot and cover.
5. Let it steam for about 20 minutes. The crabs should be orange when cooked.
6. Take them out of the pot and wait until they are cool enough to handle. At this point, a lot of the legs fell off on their own.
7. Here’s how to remove the back from the body. Notice the triangular flap on the underside of the crab? Pull that up. Wedge your fingers in between the back shell and the body and pull firmly. The body should detach from the back shell, leaving all the goopy, yummy stuff inside.
8. I like to quarter the body to make picking out the meat easier.
Serve with dipping sauce of choice (drawn butter, lemon juice with salt + pepper, or my favorite – a combination of garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, and chili.) Happy cracking!