All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Asupara no kani-ankake / asparagus with thickened crab sauce

Another dish that appears at our table when asparagus season rolls around. The sweet note of juicy asparagus is a natural match with Dungeness crab. This quick, easy and delicious Chinese-style ankake (dish with thickened sauce) is a surefire hit.

79 calories (1/2 of recipe); 8.0 g protein; 2.5 g fat; 6.3 g carbohydrate; 4.6 g net carbs; 189 mg sodium; 20 mg cholesterol; 1.7 g fiber


1/2 bunch or 200 g asparagus (207 g in photo)
Pinch salt (to boil asparagus; not in photo)
200-300 cc water (to boil asparagus; not in photo)
Small handful (50-60 g) crabmeat (64 g in photo; 1/4 of crabmeat from a nearly 2 lb Dungeness crab)
1/2 knob ginger

100 cc chicken stock
1 tsp sake
1 tsp shiokoji salted rice malt
2 tsp katakuriko potato starch + 2-3 tsp water
Black pepper, to taste

1 tsp oil (1/2 tsp oil for sauteing asparagus, 1/2 tsp oil for sauce)


Skin tough surface toward root end of asparagus as necessary, and cut into 4-5 cm.
Slice or julienne ginger.


In a frying pan, heat oil, and saute asparagus on medium high heat.
When color brightens, add water and salt, and boil for a few minutes until asparagus is tender.

Drain, and transfer to serving plate.


Wipe off excess water in frying pan.
Add oil, and saute ginger on medium heat until fragrant. 


Add crabmeat, and stir.
Pour chicken stock, sake and shiokoji, and bring to boil.


Mix potato starch and water very well, and add 1/3-1/2 of the entire amount to sauce.

Stir, and add more potato starch + water mixture as necessary to achieve desired degree of thickness.
Add black pepper, stir, and pour over asparagus.

Ready to serve.

  • Adding a small amount of sesame oil at the very end would give another layer of taste and aroma.
  • All the seasonings (chicken stock, sake, shiokoji and black pepper) can be mixed in advance (photo at right). This is especially helpful when you are making more than a few dishes at the same time.
  • Depending on your crab, the sauce can be salty. If unsure, first add only 1/3-1/2 of shiokoji, and adjust after tasting the sauce.
  • This tastes great with thick asparagus spears. Not available? Try it with broccoli, especially the stems. When the darker outer part of skin is removed, the paler green, softer inner part tastes as sweet as asparagus. Organic broccoli usually comes with long stems, and it is really worth the extra money. 

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