Dig your fork into the flavours of Japan with this hearty bowl.
In Japanese the stomach contents of the crab is called “miso.” In English, there is no good word, because it is not commonly eaten. The crab “miso” is both sweet and earthy, so it softens the salty miso, and lends depth to this flavorful dish
• 1 block (9 oz/250 g) konnyaku
• 1⁄2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
• Boiling water
• 1 large cooked crab (about 31⁄2 lb/1.5 kg)
• 4 tablespoons brown rice miso
• 5 cups (40 fl oz/1.2 liters) Konbu Dashi (page 156)
• 11⁄4 cups (10 fl oz/300 ml) sake
• 1 tablespoon mirin
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1⁄2 lb (225 g) fat green beans, topped and cut crosswise into 11⁄2-inch (4 cm) pieces
• 1 (101⁄2 oz/300 g) momendofu or Japanese-style soft block tofu, cut into eighths
• 7 oz (200 g) negi or fat scallions (spring onions), cut crosswise into 11⁄2-inch (4 cm) pieces
• Shichimi togarashi [seven-spice powder], optional
1 Tear the konnyaku into walnut-size pieces, rub with the salt, and place in a wire-mesh sieve. Pour boiling water over it for 10 seconds and set the sieve in the sink to drain.
2 Pull the back off of the crab, but do not discard. Carefully scrape into a small bowl, to reserve, any of the coral or white substance that is adhering to the back shell or the crab body. This is crab “miso.” Remove the gills and discard.
3 Quarter the crab bodies, and cut the legs and claws in thirds, diagonally. Add the brown rice miso to the residual crab “miso” and mash together until well emulsified.
4 Wash the crab shell and spoon the crab “miso” into the shell.
5 Place the crab shell in the bottom of a donabe [flameproof earthenware casserole] and set the pot on a portable tabletop burner over medium-high heat.
6 Slowly add the dashi, pouring around the outside of the shell and inside as well, and when the crab “miso” starts to melt, about 2 minutes, add the sake, mirin, and soy sauce. 7 Simmer for 1 minute before adding the crab, green beans, konnyaku, tofu, and negi (depending on the size of your pot, you might need to cook the ingredients in two or three batches).
8 Simmer for 5 more minutes, blotting off any top scum with a folded piece of absorbent paper towel.
9 Serve ladled into large, donburi [deep soup bowls]. Sprinkle with shichimi togarashi, if desired.
Recipe courtesy of Nancy Singleton, extracted from Japan: The Cookbook