For Rebecca Berardi, who inspired this crazy delish dish. Keep your pots hot and your spirits high.
"[This recipe is] a special shout-out to a woman I met on a flight who took special care of John and myself and my sweet little Isaboo," Rach says. "She showed me very proudly a [photo of a] recipe that she had made at home that she kind of threw together. She married corn with sweet potatoes and crab and made a curry chowder. And I said, 'That sounds so amazing, would you mind if I did a little riff on that?'"
"Of course, 4 tablespoons Madras curry or any curry blend you love can be used here, store-bought," Rach says. "If you have a large spice pantry, this mixture is a great way to dig in and use them up. Blended curry powder can be stored for several months in an airtight container, so make a double or triple batch."
Pro Tip: When available, Rach will add 2 tablespoons freshly grated turmeric root with the fresh ginger in the chowder recipe, and skip the dried turmeric used in the curry blend.
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 tablespoon coriander seed
- 2 teaspoons fenugreek, or ⅔ palmful
- 2 teaspoons mustard seed
- One 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
- 4-5 allspice berries
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 3 ears corn on the cob, scraped, or 3 cups fire-roasted frozen corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 8 slices meaty bacon, chopped (optional, if you don’t use bacon add 2 tablespoons butter)
- 1 pound butternut squash, diced 1 inch
- 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, white or yellow, finely chopped
- 1 handful fresh curry leaves, or 1 large fresh bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped or sliced
- 1 ½ inches fresh ginger root, grated or minced
- 1 ½ inches fresh turmeric root, grated or minced, about 2 tablespoons (optional)
- 2 chili peppers, red or green or 1 of each, seed them and remove ribs if you want milder chowder or use one 4-ounce jar drained, chopped pimientos for mild chowder
- 4 cups bone broth or chicken stock
- 1 pound king crab meat or snow crab, well picked and pulled into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup crème fraiche or Greek yogurt
- Chopped fresh dill and chives, to serve
- Garlic naan bread, prepared to package directions
For the chowder, place a small bowl inverted inside a big bowl and scrape corn off cobs.
Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat with oil, 1 turn of the pan, add the bacon and render and brown, then remove to towel-lined plate. Add squash, celery, onion, curry leaves or bay, and salt and pepper and partially cover the pot, cook 10-12 minutes to soften. Add corn, garlic, ginger, fresh turmeric if available, chili peppers or pimientos, and broth, partially cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add crab and heat through, stir in yogurt or crème fraiche, and adjust salt. Top the chowder with bacon, dill and chives to serve, pass griddled, buttered garlic naan bread for dipping and dunking.