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Posted: November 15

Cooking Taiza Crab – Kyotango Crab Season part 3

We found out where the crab come from in part 1 and where you can buy them in part 2, now lets start cooking Taiza crab!

Cooking Taiza Crab

One crab has enough meat for two people to get quite a bit each but it’s not so filling that they won’t have room for accompaniments as well. As such the following recipes are intended for two people, please adjust them as you see fit.

I would recommend getting the crab raw but prepared. That way you don’t need to worry about separating the legs from the body, and they may cut part of the shell off the legs and claws making it easier to get at the meat.

The ingredients have been listed in English and Japanese to make it a little easier to find in the super market.

Crab Nabe (Hotpot)

カニ鍋
カニ鍋 – Crab Nabe (unaltered, taken by Laura Takakura, used under CC license 2.0)

Our first method of cooking crab is a crab nabe, or crab hotpot. This is a great way to eat the crab with friends and family as all the cooking is done at the table. Just make sure you prepare the stock and vegetables before they arrive. You’ll only need to leave the table to get more drinks.

Stock Ingredients

  • 1L Water 水
  • 2Tbsp Dashi Stock だし汁
  • 2Tbsp Cooking Sake 料理酒
  • 2Tbsp Mirin みりん
  • 2 Sheets Konbu 昆布

Main Ingredients

  • 1 Taiza Crab 間人ガニ
  • 1/2 Napa Cabbage 白菜
  • 4 Shiitake 椎茸
  • 3-4 Salad Onions (Scallions) or 1 Leek 長ネギ
  • 1 pack Tofu 豆腐

Shime (finish)

  • 2 cups rice 米 (or your preference)

Directions

If the crab is frozen make sure you take it out with enough time to defrost. If it’s been left to late run it under the cold tap, don’t use hot as it may cook the outside and make it overcooked after you take it out of the pot. Don’t let it get too warm or spend too long defrosted as you want it at premium freshness.

Soak the Konbu sheets in the water for 1-2 hours before hand, then discard the sheets. Mix the water and the rest of the stock ingredients in the nabe pot and start heating it at a medium heat. When the pot is at a rolling boil put in some of your vegetables and tofu. When it gets back to a rolling boil put the crab in. Only put what you’re going to eat in one go in, you don’t want to overcook your Taiza crab.

After you are done eating the crab and extras you should have a lot of stock left so its time to put the shime in. The rice will soak up the tasty stock which has been augmented by the crab and vegetables cooked in it. That should make it super tasty and very nutritious.

Grilled Crab

Grilling is probably the simplest way of cooking crab. It also helps ensure that there are no strong flavours competing with the crab for your attention. Unless you use dip it in something afterwards that is.

Grilling doesn’t take a long time, only about 5 minutes on high if you use a gas fish griller, or about 7 minutes at 1000w if you use a toaster oven. If you’re grilling the crab on coals make sure to check them regularly, you don’t want them overdone.

You can also roast the crab miso (brown meat) in the upper shell of the crab. By adding a little sake the flavour can be lifted up, and it can make an excellent dipping sauce for the white meat.

If crab miso is not to your liking, perfectly understandable, then there are other options. In the interests of keeping it simple, melted butter is always a good option. But if your after a more “Japanese” flavour profile try the following dipping sauce.

Ingredients

  • 4Tbsp Vinegar 酢
  • 2Tbsp Shiro Dashi 白だし
  • 1tsp Soy Sauce 醤油
  • 1tsp Mirin みりん
  • 1tsp Sugar 砂糖

Crab Shelling

The following recipes all involve the crab being removed from their shell first.

  1. Trim the leg so your only dealing with the thick part of the leg, and one joint.
  2. Cut the shell up the length of the thick part of the leg, stop at the joint.
  3. Peel the shell off.
  4. Peel the red membrane off (this may have come off with the shell).
  5. It should be nice white flesh, and is said to look like a flower blossoming.

Now that it has been de-shelled please try one of he following recipes.

Sashimi

Crab Sashimi
Crab Sashimi (unaltered, taken by Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei, used under CC license 2.0)

This is the only recipe here which doesn’t involve actually cooking crab, and you’ve already done all the hard work by taking the shell off. For eating just dip the Taiza crab in a bit of soy sauce (only a little) and wasabi and enjoy. If you are in any doubt about eating raw crab check with the shop that sold it to you, and make sure you haven’t left it out for too long.

Crab Shabu

Crab Shabu

You can make Crab shabu with many of the same ingredients as the crab nabe above. The main difference is the added prep of the crab legs, but don’t be put off by the extra work. It’ll make for an easier eating experience for your guests as they won’t have the shells to contend with.

When cooking meat in a shabushabu style you would just wave it around in the broth for a few seconds until it is cooked. You should do the same with the crab. Without its shell, and having blossomed like a flower, it will cook a lot faster so don’t put too much crab in at one time, only what you will be eating right away.

This brings our Kyotango Crab Season special series to an end, if you haven’t seen parts 1 and 2 then please take a look at the links below. If you’d like to see more multipart series like this leave a comment on our facebook page.

Make sure you check out part 1 of Kyotango Crab Season where we talk about where the crab live, and where they are caught: https://visitkyotango.com/news/1997/

And part 2 of Kyotango Crab Season where we introduce the crab auction and some restaurants and seafood vendors which sell Taiza crab: https://visitkyotango.com/news/2014/