Washoku is the Japanese word for Japanese cuisine. This blog will introduce Japanese food, the chefs, dishes, pottery, and Japanese culture. All photos are by Naoko Takagi, contributions from other individuals will be noted.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Female Snow Crabs

Photo of female snow crabs せいこ蟹の写真 コッペ蟹

Female Snow Crabs (called "koppe-gani / seko-gani / seiko-gani in Japanese)

Usually, when people hear the word "snow crabs", we imagine plump, yummy legs and claws, but those are male snow crabs. The body size is significantly different between the two sexes of a snow crab. Female snow crabs are typically 1/3 of the size of a male snow crab.
In addition to size, around November, pregnant snow crabs carry "sotoko (fertilized eggs)" which have a similarly satisfying popping crunch as sea grapes when you chew them. "Uchiko (the ovary)" has a rich strong crab flavor. These flavors are quite different from the flavors of the male snow crab and as a result, the female snow crab is considered a signature dish during the winter feast known as Fuyu no mikaku. The unique flavor combination of the sotoko, uchiko and "kani-miso (the brown meat)" leads you to the next level as a gastronomist.

Pour sake to the shell when you finish enjoying the crab meat. The sake will take on a subtle flavor of the kani-miso--a deeply satisfying way to complete the meal.

Interesting fact, the brown bead-like formations on crabs shell are the eggs of a leech that commonly lives on crabs. There are many mysteries surrounding these parasites, but they don't harm crabs themselves. They only use the hard surface as a safe place to lay their eggs. They don't infect the crabs in anyway, so they are safe to eat.

通の一品 せいこ蟹




Female Snow Crabs せいこ蟹 こっぺ蟹

Photo shoot at Hirohisa