Crab and Cucumber Salad is a simple salad, and the crab meat makes it a little bit luxurious. It is a refreshing light crab salad and the sweet vinegar dressing goes so well with the crab meat. Although I call it salad, it is a side dish in Japan.
Today’s salad, Crab and Cucumber Salad with Sweet Vinegar Dressing is called Crab Sunomono in Japan. Sunomono (酢の物) is a generic word for dishes with Japanese vinegar dressing. It includes the dishes that I posted some time ago – Cucumber and Seaweed Sunomono and Octopus and Cucumber Sunomono.
There are all kinds of vinegar-based dressings and you can find some of them in my post Japanese Dressings.
Amazu and Crab Meat
Back in Japan when I was still living with my parents, we ate boiled crab meat with a sweet vinegar dressing. Pick up a piece of crab meat and dip it in the dressing, then pop it in your mouth. They call this dressing ‘kani-su’ (蟹酢), which means crab vinegar. It is a variation of the amazu (甘酢) that I used for today’s salad.
Even now, some restaurants serve boiled crab meat with kani-su. However, the shops and restaurants near the fishing ports that are famous for their fresh crabs say that the crab meat should be eaten by itself so you can enjoy the flavour and sweetness of the crab first. Then perhaps dip some in kani-su later if you want.
Apparently, the old tradition of using kani-su was to remove the smell of the crab when it was not so fresh. But for Crab and Cucumber Salad, I think that amazu is a perfect dressing and it enhances the flavour of the crab meat.
What’s in Crab and Cucumber Salad
The salad consists of just three ingredients, plus salt to wilt the sliced cucumber.
- Cooked crab meat
- Thinly sliced cucumber
- Wakame seaweed
I used crab meat from cooked king crab legs. The large legs are easier to get the meat out, but you can also use smaller crabs like blue swimmers.
I also tried with the canned crab meat in brine that you can buy at supermarkets. Unfortunately, it was a collection of tiny flakes of white crab meat and there was no red skin at all (see the photo below). Because of this, the colour of the dish was not as attractive as the dish with the red colour in it.
In Japan, canned crab meat usually contains chunks of crab leg meat. If you can get chunks of crab meat in a can or tub, that would be perfect.
The amazu dressing is made up of only three ingredients.
- Rice wine vinegar
- Light soy sauce
Light soy sauce is recommended so that the dressing has almost no colour. But if you don’t have light soy sauce, you can use normal soy sauce. You only need a very small amount so the difference in the colour of the dressing is marginal.
How to Make Crab and Cucumber Salad
It is very simple and quick to make today’s salad.
- Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the cucumber slices and let it wilt, then squeeze the water out.
- Break some of the crab meat into small chunks, some into flakes.
- Rehydrate wakame seaweed if using dried wakame. If the wakame seaweed comes in long strands cut them into bite size pieces.
- Mix the salad ingredients in a bowl, then transfer to serving bowls.
- Serve with amazu dressing in a jar.
When breaking the crab meat, keep a few large pieces with red skin. These can be put on the top for a striking effect.
Another way of serving Crab and Cucumber Salad is to put the three salad ingredients in individual clusters, instead of mixing them, and serve with the dressing (the photo above).
You can pour the dressing over the salad and serve if you like, instead of serving the dressing in a separate container for the diners to pour over their salad.
Today’s dish is a very simple salad, but it has a wow factor. The sweet vinegar dressing (amazu) goes so well with the salad ingredients.
Crab and Cucumber Salad is a simple salad, and the crab meat makes this salad a little bit luxurious. It is a refreshing light salad and the sweet vinegar dressing goes so well with the crab meat.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 100g / 3.5oz cooked crab meat (note 1)
- 1 cucumber thinly sliced
- 50g / 1.8oz wakame seaweed (rehydrated from about 5g / 0.2oz dried wakame, note 2)
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp light soy sauce
Put all the Amazu ingredients in a jar or a bowl and mix well until the sugar dissolves.
Sprinkle salt over the sliced cucumber, mix and leave for 10 minutes to let it wilt.
Squeeze the water out of the cucumbers and put it in a mixing bowl.
Break very large crab meat into smaller chunks, some into flakes (note 3). Reserve a few large chunks of the crab meat with red skin on them for decoration and put the rest into the bowl with cucumber (note 4).
If the wakame comes in long strands, cut them into bite-size pieces. Squeeze the water out and put them into the bowl (note 4).
Mix the ingredients in the bowl so that the ingredients are evenly scattered (note 4).
Transfer the mixture to serving bowls, place a couple of reserved large chunks of crab meat in each bowl, and serve with amazu in a little jar. Alternatively, pour the amazu over the salad and serve.
1. I used crab meat from cooked king crab legs. Due to the large size of the leg, it is easier to remove meat off the legs compared to smaller crabs. Similarly, snow crab is great for this dish. You can of course use other crabs such as blue swimmer.
I also tried using canned crab meat. The flavour is OK but the canned crab meat that I could find in Sydney was not chunks of meat but white flakes of crab meat in brine. As you can tell from the photo in the post, the dish does not look colourful and it lacked the wow factor. If the canned crab meat (or in a tub) comes in chunks, that would be much better.
2. If you have frozen fresh wakame seaweed, that would be better.
3. If you are using crab meat in a can or a tub in brine, drain the liquid.
4. Instead of mixing the salad ingredients, you can cluster the individual ingredients together in a bowl (see the photo in post).
5. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 166g calories: 107kcal fat: 0.5g (1%) saturated fat: 0.1g (1%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 0.2g monounsaturated fat: 0.1g cholesterol: 49mg (16%) sodium: 896mg (37%) potassium: 248mg (7%) carbohydrates: 16g (5%) dietary fibre: 0.4g (2%) sugar: 14g protein: 9.6g vitamin a: 2% vitamin c: 6.4% calcium: 4.9% iron: 3.1%