Kani salad is a delicious Japanese inspired salad that’s made with imitation crab, crunchy vegetables, and a light, refreshing mayo dressing. This salad is great alone or with rice and seaweed as a homemade sushi bowl or hand roll. This kani salad recipe can easily be adjusted with other ingredients such as mangos, apples, and daikon. You can even add in some sriracha hot sauce to make this a spicy kani salad!
What you need to make kani salad
- Imitation crab
- Cucumbers (prefer using Persian cucumbers)
- Shredded carrots
- Kewpie mayo (or regular mayo)
- Lemon juice
- Sesame oil
- Salt and black pepper
- Mustard (optional)
- Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
What is Kewpie mayo?
Kewpie mayo is a Japanese style mayonnaise brand. I love using Kewpie mayo as a replacement for regular mayo in almost all my recipes that require mayonnaise. The main difference between Kewpie mayo and American mayonnaise is that Kewpie mayo is made of only egg yolks instead of whole eggs like regular American mayonnaise. The taste is slightly sweeter and tangier. You can find Kewpie mayo at Japanese supermarkets and most Asian markets in the mayonnaise aisle. You can also find it online. This is the link to purchasing it on Amazon.
Reading: Where can i get kani salad
What is imitation crab and where can you get it?
Read more: Red Hot and Blue Potato Salad
Imitation crab is often referred to as crab sticks, seafood sticks, or surimi. Despite its name, imitation crab is actually not made out of crab meat. Instead, imitation crab is a paste that is commonly made out of a white fish, such as pollock, and sometimes added with some type of starch, seasonings, and eggs.
Imitation crab can sometimes be found at regular supermarkets in the Asian refrigerated section. You can also try the seafood aisle. However, most Asian markets will carry a wide variety of imitation crab products. It is usually in the refrigerated aisle next to the tofu or fish cake section. Sometimes, it can also be found in the freezer aisle next to the frozen dumplings and fish cake. There are so many different brands of imitation crab products. To be honest, I never remember which brand I like best and almost always end up buying which ever one looks like its most popular!
How to store, use, and cook imitation crab
Read more: how to make mashed potatoes salad
Imitation crab should be stored in its original packaging and consumed by its best by date on the package. Imitation crab can either be stored in the fridge or freezer depending on specific packaging instructions. Generally, I like to keep my imitation crab in the freezer until I am ready to use them. I will normally defrost them in the refrigerator over night. If you need a quick defrost, you can put the imitation crab (in its originally packaging) in a large bowl and run under warm (not hot) water for 15-30 minutes.
Imitation crab is a precooked item and can be consumed straight out of the fridge or cooked. They are probably most commonly known as an ingredient used for sushi, but there are so many other ways that imitation crab can be used. They are delicious in salads, stir fries, hotpot, soup, and even casseroles! I’ve also had them in fried wontons and egg rolls, which were delicious!
Read more: The Best Potato Salad in the World!
How to make kani salad
- If using frozen imitation crab, defrost overnight in the fridge. For a quick defrost, soak frozen imitation crab in its original packing in warm water for about 20-30 minutes or until completely defrosted.
- While imitation crab is defrosting, shred carrots and slice cucumbers into thin match sticks.
- In a small bowl mix kani salad dressing by combining mayo, lemon juice, and sesame oil. Season with a little bit of fresh cracked black pepper. If you are using regular mayo, add in a tiny sprinkle of sugar (skip this step if you are using Kewpie mayo). You can also add in 1/2 teaspoon of Japanese or Korean mustard for an extra kick. Another option is to add sriracha hot sauce if you are looking for more of a spicy mayo type of dressing.
- Once imitation crab has defrosted, remove imitation crab from packaging, including its individual clear wrapping.
- With clean hands or gloves, shred crab sticks. Pro tip: it helps to roll one piece at a a time between your palms until imitation crab sticks begin to fall apart.
- In a bowl combine shredded imitation crab, shredded carrots, and cucumbers. Add in dressing and mix until everything is well coated. Taste test and season with salt and black pepper to liking.
- Serve immediately. You can also serve kani salad as a topping to salads or as a sushi bowl on top of sushi rice. Kani salad is also delicious as a hand roll and is a great party dish that you can prepare a head of time. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
Looking for another quick and easy Asian salad? Try my Chinese Chicken Salad or Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Ponzu Dressing!
Please see more list about Where can i get kani salad