Jared (son #2) and his girlfriend, Karina, invited us all over to their place yesterday for an all-day crab fest. Yes, that’s what we know as a cangrejada. So I thought I would share a few images today of some typical Ecuadorian seafood.
The cangrejada obviously revolves around crabs. In this case, 32 of them. And the process to prepare them although not too involved does take time. First you have to go to the market to buy them fresh, along with all the other accompanying ingredients. That outing in itself takes time. Once home, the crabs have to be scrubbed thoroughly… while they are still alive. And they obviously aren’t happy about been subjected to this treatment, so you have to look out for their claws. Jared is the expert in this department, so with some assistance from Julian they were able to wash all the crabs within half an hour. Here they are, all nice and clean… and desperately trying to climb out of the bucket. I think they knew what was coming…
I was the only person invited to join Jared and Karina in their tiny kitchen. I’m not the greatest cook, but everyone knows I’m an efficient chopper! That big pot of water had to first be heated to boiling, and into it went the crabs, along with white onions, garlic, a special type of banana known as maduro, raw brown sugar, coriander and cilantro. And then 45 minutes to an hour to cook.
In the meantime, son #1 Jono, with girlfriend Vanessa and my sweet grandchildren Alexia and Julian entertained themselves with video games. Educational ones, at my insistence. (smirk)
We also prepared some side dishes… yummy, yummy prawns in a sauce made of garlic, and green and red peppers.
And one of the few things I do know how to make well… patacones. These are green bananas that are cut into chunks, deep fried very quickly and then smashed, and once again deep fried. Delicious… believe me!
Once the crabs had finished cooking, everyone could sit down to eat. You can either eat them plain, or take our time pulling off the meat into a bowl to which you add an encurtido. Encurtido literally means “pickled,” and it is a sauce made of finely chopped onions, tomato, cilantro, lime and orange juices. If you eat it this way you are basically having a crab ceviche.
Jared and Karina are true diehards… they are always the last ones left sitting with still a pile of crabs to eat!
Missing from our family dinner were my mother (not a big seafood fan) and Jamie’s boyfriend, Carlos (out on a photo shoot, he didn’t arrive until we were on our way out!). Yummy food, yes, but the best part of the day was being able to spend it with my three kids under the same roof, an event that doesn’t happen often enough. A really happy day for me. 🙂