Crab Tallies

by Donla Pheinkuk

Walking through the bustling market of Oasis, the air is filled with the scent of ripe tropical fruit and spices imported from all over Sobukand. Street vendors hawk savory kebabs of unknown roasted meat and impaled scorpions, as well as convenient ropes lined with dangling soft shell crab and tiny, salty fish you can eat whole, bones and all. No trip to Bidawa Hadir is complete, however, without a taste of their most popular regional street food, ‘crab tallies’, or often just tallies. These bite-size rounds of pan-fried chickpea flour are mixed with fresh crab meat and shreds of coconut, and served in bowls made from whatever fruits or vegetable skins the vendor has on hand. Firm, edible leaves of local yellow plants are used to scoop toppings of spicy sweet fruit salsas and a pale green minty cream sauce onto the morsels, and eaten by hand without the need of a place setting or seat.   The name “tallies” has a dubious origin. Some claim that it is due to their size and shape, which resembles the scale weights used by merchants to calculate a standard measure of goods. Others claim that in times of hardship, stale tallies were used in place of currency in games of chance, acting as a way to “tally” the total owed from one individual to another. Either way, the result is a filling meal enjoyed throughout the marketplace of Oasis.   – Excerpt from A Traveler’s Guide to Sobukand by Donla Pheinkuk   For a full recipe on how to make these for yourself, follow this link to the Feast In Thyme article

Cover image: by Kristin Roberts


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