Marinated Crab – An Authentic Korean Delicacy

When it comes to seafood treats, marinated crabs are a hidden gem that teases taste buds and offers a culinary adventure like no other. This savoury treat, deeply rooted in various coastal cuisines, transforms the yummy crab into a mix of flavours through the art of marination. Marinated crabs, also familiar as “gejang” in Korea or “kani no shioyaki” in Japan, are usually made by soaking fresh crabs in a tasty mixture of soy sauce, spices, and sometimes fermented pastes.

The marination process not only infuses the crab meat with a rich, amazing taste but also makes it soft and tender, making every bite a juicy delight. The beauty of marinated crabs lies in their making. You can enjoy it as an only dish, a side, or even as a normal topping for rice and noodles. The balance of sweet, salty, and umami flavours, often mixed with a hint of garlic and chilli, creates a tempting dish that appeals to both adventurous foodies and traditional palates alike.

Preparing marinated crabs at home might seem tough, but it’s so much worth it. With the right ingredients and a bit of patience, you can create this tasty dish and impress your guests with a taste of the sea’s finest offerings.

Join us as we dive into the world of marinated crabs, exploring traditional recipes, modern twists, and tips for perfecting this delectable seafood treasure. Your journey to savouring this oceanic delight starts here!

What Kind of Crabs to Use for Making Marinated Crabs

The main difference to be aware of is that Korean blue crab, also known as flower crab, is not the same as blue crab from any market. In Korea, people know crabs as “ggot-gae”. The meat has a hint of sweetness and the shells are softer.

You may never be able to get live Korean blue crab in your nearby stores, but if you can get your hands on some, we highly recommend using them. You will need to use any local crab if you want live crab.

Also, you can use our chosen frozen Korean crab. We like to use frozen Korean crab because it tastes different. It’s sweeter and has a distinct ocean flavour. Also, it’s so much simpler to eat. Because of the softer shell, scraping or squeezing out the meat is significantly simpler.

Apart from the fact that it’s not fresh, the main flaw of using frozen crab is that you won’t get to enjoy the tasty extras of crab roe and tomalley that are available in South Korea.

You can then choose your course of action based on this information. We think frozen Korean crab is better than live market crab, but both are good.

Choose only female crabs for the greatest gejang! It’s likely that the female crabs are carrying eggs, and you sure want the eggs. They balance out all the fiery components of this recipe with plenty of flavour and a hint of creaminess.

You will need to examine the apron on the crab’s abdomen in order to determine whether it is a female. The apron of a female crab is more round. But, the apron of a male crab is longer and pointier.

Now that you have chosen your crab, you are good to go to make your marinated crab.

Tips to Note Before Starting

It is important to know why the crabs must be alive when you break them down before we start. Despite your lack of expertise in crustaceans, you must fully research this subject. It is not safe to consume raw crabs. Use live crabs only. Enzymes released from the intestines of dead crabs quickly break down the remaining body parts. The bacterium quickly builds up ammonia, which will ruin the meat’s flavour and texture. So, it will make you sick. Having said that, handle live crabs with extreme caution if you plan to eat them, especially raw!

The best type of crabs for this dish are live ones. Moreover, live flower crabs are an option. Because they have eggs and more meat than males, females are better! really delicious when combined with a dish of rice.

Ask your fish butcher to debone live crabs if you are not an expert in the kitchen and find it tough! If you tell them you’re preparing raw marinated crabs, they may be able to cut it for you.

Be sure to throw the crabs’ insides, but save the eggs and mustard! They are basically, any yellow or orange parts of the crab.

For this recipe, having a nice pair of kitchen shears will come in rather handy. It can rip off all the rough edges and fit into all the hidden spots of the crab.

The crab will become more salted the longer you leave it in the brine. After a day or two, you may take it out of the brine. However, save some of the brine to drizzle over your rice.

Ingredients for Marinated Crab

  • 2 pounds live blue crabs (6 or 7 crabs) or live flower crabs
  • 1 apple, sliced thinly – The apple gives the marinade a touch of sweetness and sourness. You can use any apple you like, but I like to use honey crisp apples!
  • 1 medium onion, sliced – This dish uses onions in two different ways. Cook the marinade with it to bring out some sweetness and richness. In addition, finely slice it for garnish.
  • 5-6 garlic cloves – Use as much or as little garlic cloves as you want!
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped – This ingredient won’t taste in the marinade, but it will assist the flavours meld together. A tiny amount goes a long way!
  • 2-3 green chilli peppers, chopped – Cheongyang pepper is a green hot pepper from Korea. Serrano or jalapeño peppers can be used in place of this.
  • 3-4 small dried red chilli peppers – The marinade gains a deep, somewhat smokey flavour from these dried peppers.
  • 5 inches x 8 inches dried kelp – It gives the marinade more umami flavour. This is a necessary item that shouldn’t be skipped or changed!
  • 2½ cups soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice syrup
  • 6 cups water – To counterbalance the savoriness, water is added to the marinade.
  • Whole black peppercorns: Whole black peppercorns give the marinade a mildly spicy, slightly harsh aroma.
  • Scallion: The soy marinade’s flavour is further enhanced by the scallion.

For garnish

  • Chopped green onion
  • Dried shredded red pepper (silgochu) or chopped red chilli pepper
  • Toasted sesame seeds


  • You can put crabs to sleep by freezing them for 2 hours.
  • In a heavy pot, add soy sauce, water, rice syrup, dried chilli pepper, ginger, apple, dried kelp, onion, and garlic to make the mixture. For 20 minutes, over medium-high heat, boil it while covered.
  • After an hour, reduce the heat to low and continue simmering the mixture.
  • Allow the marinade to cool a bit before straining and then allow it to cool completely. After that, put it aside.
  • Open the freezer and remove the crabs. Take a single crab and place it face up on the chopping board. Lifting and twisting off the apron (the section that is curled around under the body) remove it. Then, flip it over. With one hand, hold the shell, then use the other to split it open. You can use a knife or your fingers to take out the gills. With scissors, get rid of any wiry parts (antennae and eyes) from the rim of the shell. This is how you clean all the crabs. Just remember to record which shell belongs to which body.
  • To give the crabs a good cleaning, brush them under cold running water. However, take care not to remove the tomalley, often known as “mustard.” After draining, replace each shell on its respective body to give the impression that the crab is whole.
  • Place the crab, and shell, in a big glass jar or any other container. To keep the crabs buried, pour the marinade into the jar and press down on them with a weighty object, such as a rock. Keep chilled for a full day. Your marinated crab is now ready.

How to Eat Marinated Crab

  • Eat it with rice.
  • Use a knife or scissors to cut the crab into small pieces. Using the back of your knife, crush the hard claw so that you can reach the tasty meat without hurting your teeth. In Korea, there are several tales of people breaking their dentures or teeth while eating ganjang-gejang.
  • Add sesame seeds, sliced green onions, and chopped red chilli peppers, or silgochu, as garnish.
  • Take out the crab meat from the body, claws, and legs.
  • You can add a bit of rice to the shell along with the tomalley, roe, and marinade. You may use a spoon to eat it directly from the shell.
  • Place a layer of marinated rice mixture onto a sheet of roasted kim (seaweed paper), then top with sliced cucumber and then begin eating.

Tips for Making Awesome Ganjang-Gejang

Before you start, buy live crabs and keep them in the fridge for two hours. During the breeding season the female crabs have eggs. Make sure to buy them if you enjoy it. Ask your fishmonger before buying any crabs if you’re not sure about their season or gender.

Asking your fishmonger to clean the crabs for you will save you the trouble of freezing them if that’s not your forte.

Sometimes, you may find some worms within the gills. The worms are safe, but because no one likes to eat worms in their sauce, you may remove the gills completely.

This meal is called “rice thief” (“bap-do-duk”) by the Koreans because it goes so well with rice that you won’t believe how fast the rice disappears from your bowl!

Your ganjang-gejang will likely have some marinade remaining in the bottom after you’ve eaten it. Bring it to a boil, allow it to cool, and store it in the refrigerator for use in stir-fried veggies or just toss it with rice and wrap in gim for an easy snack or a meal.

You’ll need to take some precautions to preserve this if you plan to keep it for longer than a week. After taking the crabs out from the marinade, divide them into portions and freeze them in plastic bags. You must boil the marinade once more, let it cool, and store it in the fridge. To make marinated crabs or ganjang-gejang, remove a part from the freezer, thaw it in the refrigerator, place it in a serving bowl or plate, and drizzle it with marinade.

Marinated Crab FAQs

1.    Can Marinated Crabs with Raw Crabs be Consumed Safely?

It’s crucial that you buy frozen or live crabs that have previously undergone processing (such as cleaning and gutting) and come from a trusted shop. Dead crabs should never be used since they decompose and decay easily. So, it increases the risk of foodborne illnesses. Eat raw fish at your own risk, and if in doubt, always get medical advice!

2.    How Does Raw Crab Marinated in Soy Taste Like?

Ganjang gejang, or soy-marinated raw crab, is a special blend of savoury, sweet, and umami flavours. The rich and savoury soy marinade completes the crab meat’s initial rush of sweetness and saltiness as you bite into it. The crab has a soft, smooth texture that melts on your tongue. Raw crab marinated in soy sauce is a great option if you like sushi or sashimi!

3.    Is Ganjang-Gejang Fishy?

The ganjang gejang shouldn’t taste or smell fishy if you use live blue crabs. The frozen crabs do, however, seem more strongly flavorful and have an aftertaste of fish. For those reasons, when you make raw crab meals like this, you should always use live blue crabs.

4.    Can Frozen Crab be Used to Make Ganjang-Gejang?

Yes, without a doubt! Since frozen crabs are usually fully cleaned, using them is not only easier but also year-round! Remember that their meat may taste and smell fishy, and it is typically softer than that of live crabs.

5.    How Long Can You Keep Ganjang-Gejang?

In an airtight container, it can be stored for up to 4-5 days when kept properly. Still, to make sure it hasn’t gone bad, make sure it’s fresh. Uncommon colour changes or strange or off-putting smells are warning signs to watch out for. Always throw anything out when in doubt!

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