Matsuhisa King Crab With Sanbaizu

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/matsuhisa-la/ (15 Dec 2006)

“…King crab legs are usually sold, already cooked…” -Nobu West, p. 157, Matsuhisa

So my wife and I were talking about purchasing some king crab legs. As I understand it, these crab legs are usually parboiled. I thought “Great – may be I can reheat the legs and pair it with sanbaizu”.  So I called Matsuhisa, LA and chatted with Exec Chef Homma on 15 Dec 2013 around 6pm their time. He told me that they make their sanbaizu the following way:

400 cc rice vinegar (13.5 oz)
250 cc dashi               (8.45 oz)
100 cc sugar               (3.38 oz)
70 cc usukuchi (light) soy sauce (2.36 oz)
pinch of salt

That seemed like a lot, so making a microbatch (divide by 4) was:

100 cc rice vinegar (3.38 oz==6.76 tablespoons, ~6T+2t+1/4t)
62.5 cc dashi       (2.11 oz==4.22 tablespoons, ~4T+1/2t+1/6t)
25 cc sugar         (.845 oz==1.69 tablespoons, ~1 T+2t)
17.5 cc usukuchi (light) soy sauce (.591 oz==1.182 tablespoons,~1T+1/2t)
pinch of salt

sugar, light soy sauce, rice vinegar for the sanbaizu

sugar, light soy sauce, rice vinegar for the sanbaizu

Mix of sugar, light soy and rice vinegar

Mix of sugar, light soy and rice vinegar

Because of the addition of the sugar, that would mean I’d have to heat the mixture to dissolve the sugar.

after the addition of hot dashi; the sanbaizu is completed

after the addition of hot dashi; the sanbaizu is completed

While the original dish I had was fresh grilled crab, I was mindful of the fact that the purchased crab was parboiled.  So to try and preserve it’s flavor, I thought it best to steam the king crab leg cluster. So I

King crab legs from Whole Foods

King crab legs from Whole Foods

purchased 2 legs – a little over a 1 lb total, and prepared it by breaking the legs at the joints and then halving the crab leg shells lengthwise.  Those prepared semi-shelled legs went into a bowl with a tablespoon or two of sake.  The bowl was covered with foil and steamed at high heat for about 12 minutes.

Partially shelled king crab legs with a tablespoon or two of sake sprinkled into the bowl for steaming

Partially shelled king crab legs steamed with a tablespoon or two of sake sprinkled into the bowl

While I could have made the a course like in my omakase offering at Matsuhisa, LA, I chose to make  it an appetizer offering as part of the holiday meal with my folks.

Clockwise from top: Nobu HK Shrimp And Peppers with Sichaun Tamari, a stir fry of shredded cabbage and carrots, steamed king crab legs and dipping sauce cups of sanbaizu

Clockwise from top: Nobu HK Shrimp And Peppers with Sichaun Tamari, a stir fry of shredded cabbage and carrots, steamed king crab legs and dipping sauce cups of sanbaizu

Tasting the crab with the sanbaizu immediately confirmed to me that it was the same flavors I had had in the omakase dish at Matsuhisa.  Of course, it wasn’t grilled, but it was close enough! Yasu-san, Matsuhisa-sama – thank you so much for sharing the sanbaizu recipe!

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