Kani Miso is the nickname given to the rich, complex paste made from boiling the non-meaty innards of fresh crab, yielding something similar in texture but entirely unrelated to traditional miso. In flavor, kani miso tends to have an elegant balance of umami and sweetness, presenting a refined expression of whichever crab it comes from. Hyogo, Japan is well known for large, sweet Matsuma crabs caught off the prefecture’s northern coast, lending depth, complexity, and sweetness to this rendition of kani miso. This flavor profile and its smooth, creamy texture allow it to be gracefully incorporated into a scramble or stir fry, or laid atop sushi or sashimi.
While western preparations often disregard the non-meaty parts of the crab entirely, the Japanese notion of mottainai - wasting nothing - is the guiding principle behind this technique. Although widely assumed to be strictly “crab brain,” kani miso is much more inclusive than this. The brain of a crab is about the size of a pea, and is only one small aspect of the delicious, overlooked morsels that a fully-appreciated crab has to offer. By boiling the shell and scooping out the creamy, fragrant paste that becomes kani miso, all of these parts can be enjoyed. Fortunately, the beauty of this practice far exceeds its ideological admirability, as kani miso is superbly delicious and totally distinct in form and function from the remainder of the crab meat.
Jar contains 60g kani miso