The first time I ate kani koura-age and experienced love at first bite was when I was taken to an izakaya for a business dinner. Izakaya is a Japanese style pub where people gather to drink and enjoy one-plate, tapas style dishes. Since I do not consume alcohol, I truly enjoy the variety of small dishes served.
Kani koura-age is fried, stuffed crab shell. Its stuffing, usually being the obvious crab meat, is mixed with sautéed onion and Japanese vegetables such as shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, mitsuba (Japanese parsley), nagaimo yam, seasoned with a smidgen each of mirin, soy-sauce, salt and pepper. However, I have added a little twist to it, by using vegetables readily available at our local markets, and seasoned with a small amount of thick, creamy, white sauce. Carrots and edamame are added for color!
Fried, Stuffed Crab Shell • Kani Koura-age • カニ甲羅揚げ
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
For the stuffing
Recommend one crab per person (450~680 gr/1~1.5 lbs)
• 2 crabs = 3 lbs Dungeness or smaller crabs available at your market – buy cooked, cleaned & cracked (but save the main shell) or see here for how to
• 70 g onion, diced small
• 35 g/ 3 small shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and diced small
• 35 g frozen edamame beans, blanched, inner skin also removed
• 35 g carrot, diced small and blanched
• 1/8 ~ 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/16 ~ 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
• 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
For the white sauce
• 28 g/ 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
• 16 g/ 2 Tbsp unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 120 ml/ ½ cup whole milk
For frying (see the ‘Note‘ at the end)
• ½ egg
• 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
• panko /Japanese white breadcrumbs for coating
• vegetable oil
◊ Scrape off any membranes/particles from inside the main crab shells and thoroughly wash inside and outside. Microwave the shells for for 1 minute ( no more) to dry .
◊ For the stuffing: In a fry pan, heat oil and add onion. Stir until the edges start browning. Add shiitake and stir for 1 more minute. Add edamame, carrot, salt, pepper, and crab meat. Stir for 1 minute and turn off the heat.
◊ For the white sauce: In a small, non-stick saucepan, on medium-high heat, melt the butter. As soon as it starts boiling, add the flour and constantly stir with silicone spatula as it boils. Fry the flour until it starts changing color. Add milk and vigorously stir until white sauce is smooth.
◊ Add white sauce to filling and combine well. Fill crab shells tightly with the stuffing.
◊ Beat egg with 1 Tbsp of flour. Flour dust tops of stuffed crabs. Rub egg mixture all over tops of stuffed crabs and cover with panko.
◊ In a deep pot, big enough for both crabs, pour oil about 3cm/ 1.5″ deep. Heat on medium-high. When oil is around 175°C / 350°F (test – drop in a piece of panko and see how fast it sizzles and quickly floats… it should, right away), shake off any excess panko and place both crabs in the oil, shell side down. Inside is already cooked, it is being deep fried for golden crispness of the breadcrumbs only. If necessary, spoon hot oil over breadcrumbs to fry faster. Deep fry only until golden. When golden brown, as seen in the photos, remove from oil and place them on a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
◊ Plate with colorful vegetables and or a salad. They also go well with piping hot Japanese rice.
♦ Note: This stuffing recipe may be used to fill ramekins instead of crab shell and baked
‘au gratin‘ style: Mix well ¾ cup panko/breadcrumbs with 2 Tbsp melted butter. Add 4 Tbsp grated Gruyère cheese and mix. When ready to serve, place filled ramekins in 200°C/400°F preheated oven and bake for 5~10 minutes, until the content is hot and remove from oven. Increase oven heat to broil. Cover ramekin tops with breadcrumb mixture, and and place them back in oven and let the top brown to a crispy, golden brown, about 2~3 minutes (be careful not to burn).
~ どうぞめしあがれ • Douzo Meshiagare ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?