Have you ever tried a California roll? If so, you’ll notice that in this delicious type of Westernized sushi, one of the ingredients that stand out is the orange-and-white seafood stick.
This is imitation crab meat, and it’s an ingredient that you should check out if you haven’t yet! Widely popular in lots of fusion Japanese dishes, they’re extremely versatile, not to mention affordable and easy to prepare.
In this article, let me show you a few ways on how to cook imitation crab meat, as well as the tools you’ll need that will let you easily whip up delicious dishes in no time.
What Is Imitation Crab Meat Made Of?
Imitation crab meat has a lot of different nicknames. Also referred to as “krab sticks,” ocean sticks, or seafood sticks, this is a type of processed seafood that originated in Japan in the 1970s.
The term “crab sticks” used to be widely used by manufacturers, but since there’s no actual crab meat in them, legal restrictions have prevented them from using the term.
As the description suggests, it is not actually made of crab. It’s rather composed of starch and pulverized fish—the Japanese call this “surimi” a type of paste or ground meat that’s used to mimic the texture of the crab or other shellfish.
It’s possible to consume imitation crab meat straight out of the pack, but where’s the fun in that? If you have time to cook, this versatile ingredient can go places! To get you started, here are some of the basic cooking methods that you must take note of.
Non-Stick Frying Pan
Imitation crab meat is delicate and can easily fall apart if not handled properly. To make sure that your sticks stay intact, make sure that you use a non-stick pan for frying.
When cooking imitation crab meat, you can opt for vegetable/plant-based oils like sunflower oil, canola oil, and soybean oil. If you prefer olive oil, pick the standard one, and avoid extra virgin—this one has a lower smoke point, which means that it is much sensitive to high heat. Olive oil, as compared to its extra virgin variety, is much safer and healthier (as it avoids less oil).
Three Basic Ingredients: Egg, Flour, and Bread Crumbs
These are the three simple things you need in order to up your imitation crab meat game. Before they go into the hot oil, you simply have to coat them with these two ingredients, and voila—you’ve got yourself some crispy and delicious seafood sticks.
Prepare The Ingredients
First, make sure that your imitation crab meat has been completely thawed. Cold meat is fine, but try to avoid frying them while still frozen.
Then, place each of the three ingredients in individual containers: one bowl for the beaten egg (this will serve as your egg wash), one plate for the flour, and one plate for the bread crumbs. Set aside.
If you’re not a fan of frying, or if you would like to make more guilt-free dishes, then this one is for you! The imitation crab meat steams beautifully, and here is how to do it.
Things You’ll need
You have two main choices: an electric steamer and a bamboo steamer. You can get the former from any appliance store, and the latter in most Asian supermarkets or kitchen supply stores.