Raw crabs marinated in soy sauce

Ganjang-gejang 간장게장

Hi everybody! I’m eventually releasing my ganjang-gejang recipe today. You’d be surprised at how many people have requested this recipe through the forum, social media, email, and even in person. This recipe might look simple to you, but it took me years to develop. It’s by far the best result!

In the video you can see how I handle these fresh crabs by putting them in the freezer for two hours. If you freeze them longer, the ganjang-gejang will not be good, and if you freeze them less, then they will come back alive when you take them out of the freezer. This might freak you out so much that you couldn’t enjoy the dish, even if you could make it from jumping crabs. : )

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One day last year, I got good quality female crabs to film this recipe. When I came home, I kept them in the freezer, but I totally forgot about the crabs until the next day! My crabs were frozen hard like rocks! Even if you thaw them out nicely, they won’t be delicious anymore and their flesh will be a viscous liquid.

One spring day this year, I attempted to film the recipe again. I bought very beautiful blue crabs, but this time I wasn’t patient enough to wait for 2 hours to freeze them. My makeup was done, and I was supposed to meet friends in the afternoon, so I waited just 1 hour. When I took them out they looked ok and calm, so I started filming. Sooner or later they started to become really active, especially in the water in my sink.

I was so scared that I felt sweat trickling down my back. I made ganjang-gejang that day, but I gave up filming it because I knew it wouldn’t look good. My mother, on the other hand, always makes gejang with live crabs and she has no problem handling them. You can do it like her if you’re brave enough; you don’t need to freeze them at all.

For the filming of this video, I waited very patiently for 2 hours while the crabs went to sleep, and it turned out very well.

ganjang-gejang

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds live blue crabs (6 or 7 crabs) (or live flower crabs)
  • 1 apple, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
  • 2-3 green chili peppers, chopped
  • 3-4 small dried red chili peppers
  • 5 inch x 8 inch dried kelp
  • 2½ cups soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice syrup
  • 6 cups water

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Garnish

Serve with rice.

Directions

  1. Freeze crabs for 2 hours to put them to sleep.
  2. Create marinade by combining soy sauce, water, dried chili pepper, ginger, apple, dried kelp, onion, garlic, and rice syrup in a heavy pot. Cover and bring it to a boil over medium high heat for 20 minutes, until boiling.
  3. Turn down the heat to low and keep boiling the marinade for another hour.ganjanggejangganjanggejangganjanggejang
  4. Let the marinade cool down a little bit, strain it, and then let it cool down thoroughly. Set aside.ganjanggejangganjanggejang spoon
  5. Take the crabs out of the freezer. Grab one crab and put on the cutting board belly up. Remove the apron (the piece folded around under the body), by lifting it and twisting it off. Turn it over. Grab the shell with one hand and split it open with your other hand. Remove the gills with a knife or your fingers. Cut off any stringy stuff (eyes & antennae) from the edge of the shell with scissors. Clean all the crabs this way, and keep track of which shell goes with which body.
  6. Brush the crabs in cold running water to clean them thoroughly. But be sure not to wash away the tomalley (aka “mustard”). Drain and put each shell back on the body it belongs to, so that it looks a whole crab.blue crabsbluecrabsbluecrabs_cleaned
  7. Put the crab into a wide mouth glass jar or container, belly up. Pour the marinade into the jar and press the crabs down with something heavy like a rock, so they remain submerged. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

ganjanggejang_jar

ganjanggejang_sauce

ganjanggejang_injar

ganjanggejang_marinade

How to eat:

  1. Serve with rice.
  2. Cut the crab into bite size pieces with a knife or scissors. Crush the hard claw with the back of your knife, which will help you get to the delicious meat without damaging your teeth. There are many stories in Korea of people breaking their teeth or dentures on ganjang-gejang.
  3. Garnish with chopped green onion, chopped red chili pepper or silgochu, and sesame seeds.
  4. Suck the crab flesh out of the legs, claws, and body.
  5. Put a few spoons of rice into the shell, and mix it up with the tomalley, roe and marinade in there. Eat it out of the shell with a spoon.
  6. Put some rice mixed with marinade on a sheet of roasted kim (seaweed paper), add some sliced cucumber (optional) and eat.

Enjoy the recipe!

ganjang-gejang

ganjang-gejang shell

ganjang-gejang with rice

Tips for making awesome ganjang-gejang:

  1. Buy live crabs and freeze them for 2 hours before you start. If you like roe, then be sure to buy female crabs during spawning season when they should have eggs. If you’re unsure of the season or the sex of the crab, ask your fishmonger before you buy them.
  2. If you don’t want to clean crabs, you can ask your fishmonger to do it for you, and then you don’t need to freeze them either.
  3. I sometimes find some worms inside the gills. The worms aren’t harmful, but nobody wants to eat worms in their sauce, which is why I remove the gills entirely.
  4. Korean people call this dish a “rice thief” (밥도둑: “bap-do-duk”) because it goes so well with rice that before you know it, all the rice will be gone from your bowl!
  5. After eating your ganjang-gejang you’ll probably have some leftover marinade at the bottom. Boil it, cool it down, and keep it in the fridge to use in stir-fried vegetables, or to simply mix with rice and wrap in kim for a quick snack or lunch.
  6. If you want to keep this for over a week, you’ll need to do a little work to safely preserve it. The crabs and the marinade need to be separated, and the crabs should be portioned into plastic bags and frozen. The marinade needs to be boiled again, cooled, and kept in the fridge. When you want to have some ganjang-gejang, take a portion out of the freezer, thaw it out in the fridge, put in onto a serving bowl or plate and add some marinade to it.

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48 Comments:

  1. Camille74 Southern California joined 3/14 & has 1 comment

    Oh!!! Can you please let me know how to make the spicy Gochugaru version of Gaejang? I can’t seem to find a recipe online. I looooooove this!

  2. Maeko Philadelphia, PA joined 8/13 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi,

    Can I replace rice syrup for sugar instead? Also, can I replace the apples with pears? I kinda bought the wrong ingredients from the supermarket. I’m so sad! :(

    Thanks,
    Maeko

  3. sakett Cambodia joined 8/13 & has 1 comment

    Hi there,

    I have been following your cooking channel and tried a few recipes you recommended. Tonight, i am attempting to make Ganjang-gejang using your recipe. Since I am staying alone, i like to know how to preserve it. Your last note mentioned about separating the crab and the marinade which needs to be boiled again. If i got it right you meant separating marinated crab from marinade, not freezing fresh crab till i want to make ganjang gejang. Please confirm it. Many thanks.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,049 comments

      yes, separate marinated crabs from marinade.
      I’m sure you read the tips, right? Good luck with making delicious ganjanggejang!
      “If you want to keep this for over a week, you’ll need to do a little work to safely preserve it. The crabs and the marinade need to be separated, and the crabs should be portioned into plastic bags and frozen. The marinade needs to be boiled again, cooled, and kept in the fridge. When you want to have some ganjang-gejang, take a portion out of the freezer, thaw it out in the fridge, put in onto a serving bowl or plate and add some marinade to it.”

  4. unchienne Georgia, USA joined 10/08 & has 9 comments

    Oh, I’m so happy right now. You posted a recipe to my favorite food. :)

    I’ve been wanting to learn how to make this for years. I tried once, and it turned out very mushy. One tip about the crabs. I use the freezer method when killing mine for crab soup, but on a Youtube video of a pickled crab factory, I saw that how they like to handle their crabs is to drop them into ice water (with chunks of ice floating on top) right before they start to clean them. I tried it once, and it does seem to kill or put them to sleep in just a couple of seconds.

  5. jkim2308 new york joined 8/13 & has 1 comment

    Hi maangchi
    i have been craving this dish and have made it. the problem is i bought my crabs in china town (female blue crabs) and not many had tommalley. They had this pink thing inside. Is that safe to eat? and i remember my mother boiling the soy sauce after a few days…is it still safe to eat after 24 hours? I just wanted to double check because i hear with crabs you have to be careful or else you can get stomach problems. Thank you!

  6. JoyceWu Taiwan joined 7/12 & has 6 comments

    Maangchi,I had a question about soy sauce.
    I knew have two kind of soy sauce between cooking and boiling. When I make this recipe what kind of soy sauce I need use ?
    Thank you.

  7. Kyon Coventry,RI joined 8/13 & has 8 comments

    Being in Rhode Island, we can go down to Narragansett and get crabs right off the boat. When my Mom and Aunt make this we have to wait before we can eat it, but we use the large crabs. I don’t know if I could make this myself.

    I am going to be making chicken wings tonight but, using a sauce based on kongjang. I’ll be coating the chicken instead of soybeans and adding a dash of hot sesame seed oil. Bringing it to a cookout on Saturday.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,049 comments

      “I am going to be making chicken wings tonight but, using a sauce based on kongjang.” You must be following my recipes for a while! Very smart! : )

      • Kyon Coventry,RI joined 8/13 & has 8 comments

        Thank you. Yes, I have watched a long time. I have also watched my Aunt, and Mom, since I was a baby. I love cooking. My friends tease me, in a loving way, when we go out to eat because they know when I am analyzing while I am eating something. I try to figure out what I am tasting.
        Even though I am in RI we take trips to New York and stop at Hmart in your area, surprised I have not run into you yet. One day I will attend a meet up and bring food I have prepared, maybe even the chicken!

  8. Souavarat Houston, Texas joined 9/10 & has 45 comments

    This looks amazing! I so want to try this dish. Thanks Maangchi!

  9. vb38 joined 7/10 & has 36 comments

    Tks so much for this recipe. I always eat it when I am in Korea but at some restaurants, they can be way too salty. There is a similar Shanghainese version which is also very yummy. I’ll be making this recipe soon. Tks so so much.

    I hope u don’t mind but I would like to respond to fusionjack’s question abt dead crabs. Well, for us Chinese, we DO NOT buy (and cook) the crabs (any variety) when they are already dead (raw) while they are still at the fishmongers.

  10. korea4me South Korea joined 10/09 & has 54 comments

    Did you write the Wikipedia entry, too, Mangchi?

  11. easpiras Chesapeake, VA joined 8/10 & has 2 comments

    I have been craving this for over a year! Thank you soooo much for posting this recipe!!! :) I can’t wait to try it out.

  12. soko2usa Minnesota joined 4/09 & has 55 comments

    I’m so happy you posted this! I know I’ll make it someday.

    Kerri

  13. mrssteinert Dortmund, Germany joined 2/13 & has 7 comments

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOOVE Gejang!!!! It is one of my most favorite dishes! Thank you a million for posting it! My fiance brought me a crab once but I didn’t know how to work it and so I just cooked it. But now I can make my very own gejang! Yeeehaa! :D

  14. MindyGirl Orange County, CA joined 8/09 & has 10 comments

    THANK YOU for posting this recipe! I’ve been waiting patiently for this and I am going to look for live blue crabs right away to try it.
    I hope you have plans to plan the spicy version of raw crabs…

    I’m sooo looking forward to trying this – thanks again!

  15. fusionjack germany joined 8/11 & has 1 comment

    what happens when i can´t find the live ones? only dead ones?

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