Snow Crab Sushi Salad

Snow Crab Sushi Salad

When I was a junior in college, I spent a semester studying abroad in Japan. While I went to school in Tokyo, my roommates and I often traveled to smaller towns and cities close to Tokyo on the weekends and during breaks. During our mid-semester break, my friends and I decided to travel to Beppu, Japan, to relax in the hot water springs. At one of the water spring resorts, we were fed lunch as part of our stay. As a serious foodie, I asked for the server to choose a local Japanese lunch dish for me. I wanted to eat a local favorite. What I had for lunch that day in Beppu sent me on a year-long mission to learn how to make the dish myself at home. 

The server brought us bento boxes with Green Sushi Salad with Warm Snow Crabmeat. It was one of the most refreshing and delicious meals I have ever enjoyed. It perfectly complemented the hot water springs and mud bath spa day we experienced that day. 

When I returned home to the states, among all of the other things I enjoyed while living in Japan for a semester, I could not get that bento box meal out of my mind. I was determined to recreate the meal for myself, so I could enjoy that green sushi salad and snow crab meat any time I wanted. 

I had a hard time finding snow crab locally. After searching for the best snow crab near me, I found I wasn't having much success in locating a local source of snow crab. In doing some internet research, I found out that I could order frozen snow crab legs online and have snow crab legs delivered right to my door over dry ice.

After I ordered snow crab legs, I gathered my ingredients for my first attempt at Green Sushi Salad with warm snow crab. I waited eagerly for my crab legs to arrive. For me, finding snow crab for my snow crab dinner was one of my biggest obstacles. I was thrilled to find a seafood company to order high-quality crab legs! 

What Is So Special About Snow Crab? 

One of the first things I experimented with in trying to recreate this dish was the type of crab. I started by comparing Dungeness crab vs. Snow Crab. While Dungeness crab has delicious and sweet-tasting meat, the legs were smaller than snow crabs. I wanted larger chunks of snow crab meat in my recipes, and I also preferred the snow crab taste. I thought about considering the difference between snow crab and king crab, but I decided to trust my Japanese friends in Beppu and use snow crab. 

The Japanese dish I tried in Beppu, used giant snow crab in their recipe. 

Snow Crab Facts

I am a curious person, I love to learn, and I tend to research everything. So naturally, I decided to look up snow crab facts. 

I wanted to know if there are different types of snow crabs and know more about snow crab fishing and where fishers harvest snow crabs. After all, I plan on cooking a lot of them. I should know where my food comes from, right? 

Snow crab fishing occurs in the Northwest Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. Alaskan fishers know precisely where to catch snow crab. 

There are four main types of crab fall under the category of snow crab. Interestingly enough, these four types can interbreed, so the names have become interchangeable. 

Types of Snow crab 

-Snow Crab

-Tanner Crab

-Opilio Crab

-Bairdi Crab

Snow crab and Opilios live off of the coast of the Alaskan Peninsula. They tend to be the smaller of the four types of snow crab. All of these types of crab are labeled as snow crab at the market. Snow crab grow slowly, with males being larger than female snow crab. While they are related to the King Crab, their legs are much smaller, snow crab claws are also smaller, and the meat tends to be more fibrous than king crab meat. Snow crab legs taste similar to king crab with the meat being slightly sweet. Snow crab leg prices are also much more affordable than Alaskan King Crab. The name, snow crab, comes from the white color of their meat. 

Why Use Snow Crab Instead of Other types of Crab? 

For me, mostly because snow crab is more affordable. Besides, I am a recipe purist. My Japanese meal in Beppu was served using snow crab. I want to recreate as authentic as a dish as possible. For this food experiment, I was determined to stick with using snow crab. 

Snow Crab Nutritional Information

When compared to King Crab, the nutritional value of snow crab legs wins by a small margin. Snow crab meat is slightly lower in fat than King Crab. Snow crab is high in protein, low in fat, and high in vitamins and minerals. When combined with the health benefits of seaweed and the other fresh veggies in this recipe, you end up with a healthy and filling meal. 

Snow crab leg prices are lower than the prices of king crab legs. I plan to make this meal a regular part of my meal plans, so having an affordable 20lb box of snow crab legs in my freezer is terrific.

Snow Crab Sushi Salad: 

As I mentioned earlier, this recipe was a year-long adventure for me. It took me several tries at perfecting this recipe to as close as the original I had in Japan as possible. I had to learn how long to steam snow crab legs and how to reheat snow crab legs. I had to perfect my snow crab leg seasoning. I figured out it was even possible to microwave snow crab legs to reheat them to make this warm crab salad.  

After several attempts, I finally perfected my recipe for Japanese snow crab sushi salad. 

Ingredients for Sushi Rice: 

-3/4 of a cup of white sugar

-3/4 of a cup of water

-1 cup of rice wine vinegar

- 4 cups of white rice cooked (a rice cooker comes in handy for how much rice I spent the year cooking) 

-8 scallions (thinly sliced)

-1 medium yellow squash (diced) *You can use zucchini if yellow squash is not in season, I liked it both ways. * 

- 1 English Cucumber (diced) *If your cucumber is very large, you can use half of the cucumber* 

-1 medium carrot (diced) 

-1 red bell pepper (diced) 

- 4 cloves of garlic (minced) 

-1 tablespoon of fresh ginger (minced) 

-3/4 cup of soy sauce

-1 tablespoon of salt

-2 medium avocados (cubed) 

Steps for Sushi Rice (Instructions) 

-In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water. Stirring until the sugar dissolves

- Removed from heat and add rice wine vinegar. Cool this mixture.

- In a medium-sized bowl, combine rice, onions, squash, carrot, cucumber, red bell pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and salt.

-Add in rice wine vinegar mixture and stir until combined. 

Warm Alaska Snow Crab Ingredients: 

-3 tablespoons of soy sauce

-2 teaspoons of rice wine vinegar

-2lbs of Alaska snow crab 

Steps for Warm Snow Crab (Instructions): 

-Reheat the snow crab using your method of choice (steam or microwave)

 *To microwave snow crab legs, wrap the crab legs in damp paper towels, then place on a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave for 2-3 minutes to reheat the crab legs. * 

- Stir soy sauce and rice wine vinegar together

- In a medium bowl, combine sauce with crab meat and toss gently to combine. 

Putting the Sushi Salad Together:

-Using pan molds of your choice layer, the ingredients in the following order: 

  • Sushi rice
  • Diced avocado
  • Warm crab meat

Place a plate on top of the mold and then flip the mold upside down and tap gently on the bottom to releases the ingredients. You may want to oil your mold slightly with Olive or sesame oil, so the rice doesn't stick to the mold. 

-Serve immediately and Enjoy! 

Sharing my Experience:

Not everyone gets the opportunity to study abroad, let alone travel out of the country as I did. One of my favorite ways to experience another culture is through the food. Through food, we can get a glimpse into other cultures and people's way of life. If you ever get the opportunity to travel, please be sure to enjoy the favorite local dishes. I promise you won't regret trying new foods. I was so impressed with this green sushi salad that I went on a year-long mission to learn how to recreate this delicious snow crab meal authentically. After many delicious pounds of Alaska snow crab, I don't regret one day of my Japanese cooking adventures. 

Order your Alaskan Snow Crab:

Alaska snow crab comes to you freshly frozen and shipped over dry ice, so you can guarantee it will still be frozen when it gets to you. Don't be afraid to order the entire 20lb box snow crab legs. There are so many delicious ways to enjoy snow crab, including this recipe and with our dipping sauce recipes! 

Share in the comments below: What is your favorite way to enjoy snow crab legs?