Growing up in Rhode Island, grocery shopping consisted of several stops. Friday nights my mom would take me to the regular local grocery store for the basic essentials, bread, milk and eggs. It was the Saturday morning trips that always felt like an adventure. We would drive into Providence to go to the Chinese markets. One for seafood – which I dreaded because of the fish market smells and quite frankly the crabs and fish eyes scared the hell out of me when I was younger -and another Chinese market right across the street from the fish market for vegetables. The last stop would be the small Indian stores for more vegetables. If it wasn’t a seafood weekend, it was most likely a chicken weekend. For that we’d travel to the famous Federal Hill in Providence where we’d go to Antonelli’s Poultry, the only live poultry store in Rhode Island.
Okay so I have to be completely honest here, I am petrified of preparing crabs. My father has always taken care of the purchasing, killing and cleaning of the crabs. They have always scared me. In fact I remember having a nightmare as a child of a crab chasing me down the stairs at my childhood home. (if my cousin Ameeta is reading this YOU KNOW!) Ha, I know it sounds crazy but I am not exaggerating. So yes, truth be told my dad did clean the crabs for me for this recipe and probably will for as long as he can! lol.
However, if you are like me and this may be the first time you are cleaning a crab, I’ve researched that a humane way of killing crabs is to put them in the freezer for about two hours, then when you take them out you can remove their legs. Remove their top shell and clean out the insides.
Whenever you are making crabs you should always cook the crab within 1 or 2 days of purchasing the crab, while the meat is at its freshest. In the past we’ve tried to freeze crab but the meat becomes hard to get out of the shell and just not as juicy as when it is cooked fresh.
I have to be honest, when I was a child Kaddu was something I avoided in our home. It just seemed boring and was also a vegetable, so it was definitely on the no-go list. As I’ve gotten older it’s become something I really look forward to. Between my dad and my uncle’s gardens there is always a wealth of butternut squash to be shared toward the end of the summer months. It seems so rewarding to grown your own squash, cook it and feed your family with it. Even as an adult, I always ask my dad to peel and cut the butternut squash. It just seemed like so much work and I was quite intimidating. Eventually I just had to suck it up and figure it out on my own. It doesn’t really matter how you get to the diced squash, just as long as you do right? If you are a perfectionist – this is a great tutorial on how to cut a butternut squash.