An omelette over white rice topped with a thick sauce on a white plate.

Kanitama (Crab Omelette with Starchy Sauce)

Kanitama is a crab omelette served over white rice and topped with a thick clear sauce loaded with ginger-infused crab meat and fresh green lettuce.  This is a Japanese/Chinese fusion dish that is found in Chinese restaurants all over Japan.

Kanitama (蟹玉) is a crab omelette that is served over rice and covered with Ankake sauce.  Kanitama is a hearty and filling meal, and it is a dish that is popular in many Asian countries.  Kanitama is very similar to the “Japananized Chinese dish known as Tenshinan (天津庵), which is made with a sweet vinegar sauce instead of starchy Ankake sauce.

Ankake (餡掛け) sauce is a starchy sauce made with kudzu (braken starch), potato starch, or cornstarch dissolved in stock.  Ankake is used in many dishes around Japan such as Ankake Chahan (Fried Rice with Ankake Sauce), Gomoku Ankake Yakisoba (Yakisoba topped with beef and vegetables in starchy sauce), and even Ankake spaghetti, a popular dish in Nagoya.  The Ankake sauce I use for this recipe is thick and hearty, infused with finger and sesame oil and loaded with crab, and it goes perfectly as an omelette topper.  There are also lettuce leaves in the sauce which add a lovely color to the dish. The sauce uses chicken stock and is thickened with potato starch to create this tasty topper.

Kanitama translates to “crab and eggs” which makes sense because Kanitama is a crab omelette, albeit topped with sauce and served over rice.  The eggs in the Kanitama are lightly cooked- Japanese use soft eggs in many dishes.

This is an easy to prepare hearty meal that can be served with egg rolls and wonton soup to create a complete (Japanese influenced) Chinese meal.


Kanitama (Crab Omelette with Starchy Sauce)

Kanitama is delicious when cooked with crab.  I like to use a couple of heaping tablespoons in the omelette which makes it a very crabby dish indeed – especially when you pour the crab laden Ankake sauce on to-.

Make sure to dissolve the katakuriko in warm water before using it to thicken your Ankake sauce.  After the water and starch sit for awhile they will separate, but you can use a spoon to stir it back up before pouring it into your sauce.

5 mins 10 mins Serves 2
PREP 5 mins
COOKING 10 mins
YIELD Serves 2
An omelette over white rice topped with a thick sauce on a white plate.



  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBSP crabmeat
  • 1 tsp Japanese Kosho (or 1/2 tsp salt plus 1/2 tsp black pepper)
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 1/2 cup cooked white rice

Ingredient board for crab omelette

Ankake Sauce

  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup of crab meat (substitute with krab if desired)
  • 1 TBSP Katakuriko dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water (substitute with cornstarch if desired)
  • 1/2 TBSP Sesame Oil
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, julienned
  • 6-8 fresh lettuce leaves

Ingredient board file Ankake Sauce


Prepare the omelette

  • Spread out the white rice evenly on a flat plate and set aside.
  • Whisk together the eggs, water, crabmeat, and kosho.

Beating two eggs with a fork in a metal bowl

  • Heat the sesame oil in a skillet on medium height heat for about 20 seconds until hot.
  • Pour the eggs in.
  • Cook the eggs without stirring until the mixture bubbles up.
  • Turn the eggs and cook until the bottom holds together.

Loose omelette

  • Remove from the heat.
  • Slide the omelette onto the white rice.

Omelette on white rice On a flat plate

Prepare the Ankake Sauce

  • Heat the chicken stock, sesame oil, crabmeat and ginger over medium high heat.  Stir gently and bring to a boil.

Ankake sauce mixture

  • Add the lettuce leaves and stir until softened.
  • Reduce heat to medium and gradually stir in the katakuriko mixture.  Cook for another 30 seconds until the sauce stiffens.  Remove from heat.

Ankake Sauce thickened


  • Pour the sauce over the omelette.
  • Serve.

Omelette on white rice with Ankake sauce on a “Newspaper” placemat


  • Although this dish is delicious with fresh crabmeat, canned crabmeat or krab can be used.
  • The “omelette” should be prepared runny- I usually stir the eggs a few times and then let them cook on one side, giving them a flip and immediately laying the eggs over the rice.  The loose eggs soak into the white rice underneath and help blend the flavors of the rice and the omelette together.


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