Kani crabs


Crab meat (kani)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various
***** Category: Humanity


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WASHOKU : Regional Japanese Dishes


There are many types of crabs eaten in Japan.

akategani ... あかてがに "Rotarmige Krabbe". Chiromantes haematocheir

benizuwaigani ... べにずわいがに rote Schneekrabbe. Chionoecetes japonicus
often used for canned meat
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hanasakigani 花咲蟹 "cherry blossom crab"
spiny king crab
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iwagani, mokuzugani 藻屑蟹 / モクズガニ ... Eriocheir japonicus 
Japanese mitten crab
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In Okayama prefecture, they are called "zugani" ズガニ. CLICK for original link ... sanyo shinbun In Autumn, when they start going downriver to lay eggs, they are caught and eaten as a great delicacy. This is also the season when the colorful leaves of the persimmon trees start falling, so they are also called "ki no ha gani" (kinohagani 木の葉蟹). They are caught in the shallows of the river with a woven bamboo trap called "doojiri (どうじり), which can be as long as 5 meters. The crabs have a kind of green back and big scissors.
They are boiled and tofu is boiled with them, to give it extra flavor. They are also cooked with rice. The kanimiso paste is a expecially well loved.

kani ... 蟹 crab. Krabbe, Krebs. Fam. Brachyura
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kawakani, sawagani ... 川蟹 river crab. Flußkrabbe, Flusskrabbe. Geothelphusa dehaani.
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kegani ... 毛蟹 hairy crab. haarige Krabbe. Erimacrus isenbeckii.
Best when boiled.
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kumogani ... 蜘蛛蟹 Schneekrabbe. „Spinnenkrabbe". Chionoecetes opilio
with very long legs
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kurigani ... くりがに „Eßkastanien-Krabbe". Telmessus cheiragonus
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matsubagani 松葉蟹 / 松葉カニ (まつばがに)
"crab like a pine needle" : snow crab
when their leg meat is dipped into hot shabushabu soup, it turns white and hard and looks a bit like pine neeldes.
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In many parts of Japan, they are only served fresh in the season and never frozen.

Snow crabs get a different name according to where they are caught.
In Niigata Prefecture they are called echizengani, while those landed in Tottori are known as matsubagani.

Tottori City is most famous for its immense sand dunes, which front the Sea of Japan, but this time of year, the kilometers of swept-up sand won't be what first catch your eye. Instead you'll be assailed from all directions by signs advertising matsubagani, on sale everywhere.

Karo Port in Tottori City is the best place to find the freshest of these small crustaceans, which are a type of spider crab with a white underside. Karo boasts the largest catch of matsubagani of any port in the prefecture. The season for matsubagani in Tottori and several other prefectures on the Sea of Japan coast began Nov. 6 and ends March 20.

"January to February is best, because the temperature of the sea water is around 5 to 6 degrees. That makes the crab meat firm," says Murakami.

Typical matsubagani dishes are simple.
The flesh is eaten raw as sashimi and lightly seasoned with soy sauce, or served plain after being either boiled or grilled. Just a mouthful of matsubagani is all it takes to realize they don't really require seasoning of any sort: The meat is juicy and sweet. Some like to dip the boiled meat into some kanimiso (a sauce made from crab intestines); for others, matsubagani is a treat best washed down with a glass or more of sake.

If you're in need of a winter warmer, opt for kanisuki, a kind of crab and vegetable hot pot. And when you've picked out all the meaty treats from the pot, add cooked rice to the remaining crab and vegetable stock, stir in some eggs, and you've a tasty finale -- kanizosui (crab porridge).

Fisheries professionals can spot a good crab by just looking at its stomach, explained Yukio Amihama, chairman of the board of the fishermen's cooperation that runs Karoichi Market. "But it took me 20 years to tell," said the veteran fishermen of 45 years. Amateurs are advised merely to pick the heavy ones, because they have more meat, Amihama said.
Also keep an eye out for tagged crabs. A matsubagani with a shell larger than 11 cm in diameter is awarded a special label made of local Inshu-washi paper, on which is written the name of the fishing boat that caught it.

If you still haven't had your fill of crabs, take a peek at Tottori Karo Crab Aquarium located right next to the market. Known as Kanikkokan, a small aquarium.
Some of the questions addressed here are far from trivial, though. Visitors learn, for example, the reason behind the limited fishing season for matsubagani, and why only crabs of a certain size may be caught: It's an effort to preserve the crab population, threatened by overfishing. In the late 1960s, some 5,200 tons of crab were landed in Tottori alone; by 1991 that had dropped to just 300 tons. Careful management of crab stocks has seen that number ease back up to 1,120 tons in 2003.
"Crabs are a natural resource," said Kanikkokan's manager, Noritatsu Miki. "That resource can dry up."
source :  japantimes.co.jp/ January 2004


oozuwaigani ... 大ズワイガニ big snow crab.
große Schneekrabbe. Chionoecetes bairdi
From Echizen
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shiomaneki シオマネキ "inviting the tide"
Winkerkrabbe. Uca arcuata
Prepared with salt, as shiokara called "ganzuke がん漬"
"kanizuke" (蟹漬、がんづけ)
Local dish from Ariake kai 有明海沿岸
also called ganezuke がね漬、ganizuke がに漬、maganizuke 真がに漬
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takaashigani, takaashi-gani たかあしがに / 高脚蟹 / 高足蟹
crabs with high legs. Japanese spider crab.
Speciality off the ..Izu peninsula. They are deep-sea inhabitants.
They live in deep waters about 50 - 300 meters. When a grownup male stretches its legs, it can be up to 3 meters long. It takes it 12 hours to cast off its shell when growing.
dishes with takaashi crabs タカアシガニ料理
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tarabagani たらばがにKing crab.
Königskrabbe. Paralithodes camtschaticus
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toge kurigani とげくりがに Eßkastanien-Krabbe mit Stacheln. Telmessus acutidens
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Tsuiyamagani  津居山蟹 crabs from Tsuiyama, Hyogo, port at the Sea of Japan

yadokari やどかり hermit crab.
Einsiedlerkrebs. Fam. Paguroidea
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watarigani わたりがに, わたり蟹 Gazami-Schwimmkrabbe. Portunus trituberculatus
Gazami がざみ
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zawagani 沢蟹 swamp crab
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zuwaigani ずわいがに / ズワイガニ Queen crab. Schneekrabbe. Chionoecetes opilio
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Kani Honke 札幌かに本家
The Original Crab Restaurant in Sapporo

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with a huge moving crab over the entrance !

Click the photo to go to the HP of the restaurant.

Look at their dishes !
zuwaigani sugata yude ズワイかに姿ゆで
zuwaigani boiled in the form

yudegani ゆでかに boiled crab

Single Crab Dishes  一品料理
kani marimo かにマリモ dumpling with taraba crabmeat
kani guratan かにグラタン gratin
kani kooraage, koora age かに甲羅揚げ gratin fried in the shell
zuwaigani tsukuri ズワイかに造り sashimi of snow crabs
tarabagani fuumi yaki タラバかに風味焼き grilled at the table
zuwaigani shabushabu ズワイかにしゃぶしゃぶ boiling at the table in broth

Crab Kaiseki Dishes
A pleasure just to look at !


crabs kani variations
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. . . . . More dishes with crabs

ganzuke がん漬け / 蟹漬 kani crab pickles
from Ariakekai, Saga

kani chirinabe カニちり鍋 , 蟹ちり鍋hodgepodge
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kanikorokke kani korokke かにコロッケ croquette with crab meat
as a dish with beer or put on obento lunchboxes.
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kanimiso かにみそ 蟹l味噌 crab intestines puree like sauce
It is greenish and served inside the crab head shell. Or on a leaf of shiso perilla.
crab innards.

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You can poor sake into the shell and slurp it happily.
Paste aus Krabbeneingeweiden


kani sashimi かに刺身 raw crab meat

kanitama かに玉, かにたま egg with crabmeat
usually a kind of omelette or scrambled eggs with crab meat, with Chinese flavored sweet and sour sauce or ketchup.
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kanitama don かにたま丼 crab omelette over rice
kanitama ankake gohan, kanitama ankake don かに玉あんかけ丼
Often served in Chinese restaurants.
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kanitama udon かにたまうどん crab omelette over udon noodles

Rührei oder Omelett mit Krabbenfleisch


kanizake 蟹酒 sake with crabs
drunk from the main shell of the crab.
Or put some crab legs into a masu square wooden sake cup and drink with the meat dangling in front of your eyes ... mmmmmm ! Best with matsubagani.
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Reiswein mit Krabben


kanizoosui  蟹雑炊 (かにぞうすい) rice porridge with crabs

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Reisbrei mit Krabbenfleisch

Worldwide use

. . . . . more worldwide kigo
Crab (kani) Japan. Chesapeake Bay, USA

International Crab Recipes : japanesefood.about.com

Things found on the way


memorial Stone in front of station Hijiri Kogen 聖高原, Nagano

sazaregani ashi hai noboru shimizu kana (sazare kani)

such small crabs
climbing up my legs
in this clear water . . .

. Matsuo Basho - Archives of the WKD .
Summer of 1687, 貞亨4年夏
After a long walk, he cools his weary legs in a stream and feels happy as a child watching the small crabs.


kani no miso tsuma mo issho ni ikeru kuchi

crab innards ...
my wife likes it
just like me

Gengetsu  弦月


kawagani no shiroki mukuro ya akigawara

the white
carcasses of river crabs -
river in autumn

Shiba Fukio 芝不器男 (1903-1930)


蟹料理 灘を甲羅についで酔い 
kani ryoori nada o koora ni tsuite yoi

crab meat dishes ...
pooring sake into the shell
to get drunk

Shigeo 視外男


matsubagani Fukui e futari fuyu no tabi

snow crabs ...
together to Fukui
on a winter trip

Rikei 李渓

Nakabayashi Chikkei 中林竹渓 

Related words


***** WASHOKU : Regional Japanese Dishes


***** . kani botan, kani-botan 蟹牡丹 crab and peony - kamon 家紋 crest patterns .





Gabi Greve - Mingei said...

kani かに crab motives in folk art

Gabi Greve said...

takebungani 武文蟹 / 武文ガニ Takebun crabs
- - - onigani 鬼蟹 demon crabs
- - - kimengani 鬼面蟹 crabs with demon faces
a kind of Heikegani 平家蟹 Crabs of the Heike clan - Heikea japonicum

Shimamuragani 島村蟹
. Heikegani 平家蟹 Crabs of the Heike clan and Heike legends .

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Legend from Ishikawa, 輪島市 Wajima

kani 蟹 crab and daija 大蛇 huge serpent
During a drought, a farmer said he would give his daughter in return for someone who would put water into his rice fields. There was one young man who did it in just one night. He was the huge serpent from the river pool at 輪島川 Wajimagawa and now tried to get his bride. He wound himself around the house seven times and then get into the entrance, but inside was a large crab which managed to cut the serpent into nine parts. Where its bones fell down there are now nine ponds. The place where the head fell down is called
Oyaike 親池 "Main Parent Pond".
Near that pond the family named 笠原 Kasahara came to live as the bad spirit of the snake.
When Taisho heard of the story, he came down and used his spiritual power to break the curse and disspell the family.
Priest Taicho Hakusanbo Tengu

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Legend from Gunma

koshimotogani 腰元ガニ "maid servant crabs"
When 箕輪城 the castle of Minowa fell to the enemy, the princess jumped into the lake Harunako. Her koshimoto 腰元 maid servants followed her and became special crabs.
and many more legends to explore

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Shizuoka 静岡県
Yugashima 天城湯ヶ島町 Amagi Yugashima town
Once upon a time the rain did not stop at the end of the rainy season and there was a lot of kiri 霧 fog. Above the waterfall with three falls there was a priest walking when suddenly a huge crab with a black back appeared, spitting out black clouds and fog. The priest begun to recite special Buddhist prayers and the crab fell into the basin of the waterfall. The fog stopped. Since then the uppermost of the three waterfalls is called
kanidaru かにだる crab waterfall.

Gabi Greve said...

Heikegani 平家蟹 Heike crabs, Heikea japonicum

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Hiigata 南魚沼郡 Minami-Uonuma district 六日町 Muikamachi town
At 白山神社 the Hakusan Shrine there is a special tamoto ishi 袂石 memorial stone for the nun 妙音比丘尼 Myoon Bikuni, who lived in the Muromachi period.
If people come here to pray, their tooth ache will be healed.
People also offer images of crabs and crabs are not killed in this town.