I've made so many it only takes me about a minute to cut each crab by hand.
Though I tried the method described in the book "More Japanese Garnishes" I found that cutting the crabs individually with an xacto-knife yielded far superior results than the book's instructions of using a kitchen knife. For tiny details like this I need to use a tiny knife.
The book also says to cut a thick block of carrot into the crab shape. . .
You then have to use a very thin, incredibly sharp knife to cut the crabs as slices from the block. Even then the number of legs that would break off is what convinced me it was more efficient to simply cut them one by one.
See how the larger crab cut from the block is bulkier looking? That's because the thicker the block of carrot the more difficult it is to make smooth, curved cuts.
Plus when you cut them individually it makes each crab unique. Like little, orange snowflakes :)
You can add them to salads, soups or anywhere you normally use sliced rounds of carrots. In the past I've added them to Japanese style cucumber salads. The one pictured here also contained real crab meat. I used a special decorative garnishing tool to cut cucumber skins into seaweed like tendrils to add contrast and a more sea-like environment for the crabs.
If you don't have the patience to cut them by hand you can always watch for a metal cutter like this one. You may recall I used it to make my Traditional, Japanese, New Year's Day Ozoni Soup just a few weeks ago.
Plus if you're vegetarian or vegan this is one way you can enjoy a delicious and super cute crab salad!