This spicy kani roll (spicy crab roll) is an easy kani sushi recipe that is easy and delicious. Stuffed with spicy kani salad and spicy mayo it is the perfect sushi roll with a kick of spice.
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Reading: Imitation crab salad for sushi
You have probably heard of a spicy kani roll and you didn’t even know it! Kani means crab in Japanese and a spicy kani roll is typically referred to as a spicy crab roll in most American sushi restaurants.
Kani sushi is an umbrella term that covers any type of sushi (typically a Japanese sushi recipe) that uses kani or crab. It can be real crab or imitation crab and is a great sushi option because it is cooked.
This spicy kani roll uses a delicious kani salad made from a combination of kani (imitation crab or surimi) and spicy mayo, which is simply mayo mixed with sriracha (a spicy Asian condiment). If you love spicy tuna, you can also try this Red Dragon Roll.
If you want to get creative with you spicy crab roll, you can drizzle it with some Bang Bang Sauce or Eel Sauce. You can even add some Chili Crisp if you want some extra heat!
Why this kani sushi roll is the best!
- This spicy kani roll uses imitation crab which is cooked so it is a safe option for those who don’t want to eat sushi that uses raw fish.
- You can make extra of the spicy kani salad and it is delicious served as a side dish or on cucumbers if you want to go lower carb without the rice.
- You can easily convert this recipe to a crunchy crab roll by adding some tempura crunch on top!
Ingredients for kani sushi roll
Rice: You will want to use a short grain (Japanese rice) or medium grain (California) rice. Some excellent sushi rice brands are: Lundberg Organic California Sushi Rice, Botan Calrose Rice or Nishiki Premium Grade Rice.
Seasoned Rice Vinegar: I recommend seasoned rice wine vinegar. Marukan Seasoned Rice Vinegar and Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar are both good choices and are often found in the Asian or vinegar/salad dressing section of most grocery stores. Many grocery stores also carry a store brand version of rice vinegar (ex: target).
Spicy Kani Roll (Spicy Crab Roll Kani Sushi)
Nori Seaweed Paper: You can buy nori sheets at most grocery stores in the Asian section. You can also find a large variety of roasted nori seaweed sheets on Amazon.
Imitation Crab Meat (Sticks): Also called kanikama, surimi seafood, krab, crab sticks or kamaboko.
Mayonnaise: You can use any brand of mayo at the grocery store. You can also buy specialty Kewpie Mayo if you prefer.
Sriracha: You can buy sriracha online or in the Asian section of most grocery stores. Huy Fong Sriracha is one of the more common brands.
Pickled ginger (optional): If you would like to make your own, you can head over to my Quick Pickled Vegetables recipe which works great to make pickled ginger.
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You can also buy pink pickled ginger or white pickled ginger on Amazon or at most local supermarkets in the Asian section.
Wasabi (optional): While can buy pre-made wasabi paste and many grocery stores or online, if you want to know how to make wasabi, I would recommend that you buy wasabi powder.
Personally, I think that wasabi made with wasabi powder tastes fresher and more potent. Wasabi is super easy to make!
You simply add water to the wasabi powder and BOOM, you have the awesome wasabi that you get in Japanese restaurants.
Optional Sauces and Toppings
- Spicy Sriracha Mayo
- Bang Bang Sauce: Easy recipe. Who doesn’t like sweet and spicy!
- Eel Sauce: My homemade recipe for eel sauce is super easy!
- White or black sesame seeds
Instructions to make spicy kani roll (spicy crab roll)
How to Make Sushi Rice
Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer to remove excess starch (water should run clean). Shake off excess water.
Add rinsed rice and salt to instant pot. Add water. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
Cook on instant pot high pressure setting for 6 minutes (with full natural release).
Transfer rice to bowl. Add rice vinegar evenly over rice.
Gently fold rice to incorporate tablespoon rice vinegar (sushi vinegar), be careful not to smash rice.
Make Spicy Kani Crab Mix
Shred imitation crab meat or Alaskan crab meat.
Mix imitation crab meat or Alaskan crab meat with sriracha spicy mayo.
How to Roll Spicy Kani Roll (Spicy Crab Roll Kani Sushi)
Cover a bamboo sushi rolling mat with plastic wrap.
Place a sheet of nori on the mat.
Dip hands in water and clap to remove excess water. It helps to keep small bowl of water near you and a towel.
Spread a layer of rice across the nori. You will use about 1 cup cooked rice per full nori sheet.
Spread rice over whole surface of nori (no gap). Lay slices of salmon evenly over half.
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Flip nori over (rice/salmon side down, nori up).
Place imitation crab meat (also called, surimi seafood, krab, crab sticks or kamaboko) in a strip across the rice. Placement should be about 1 inch or so from the bottom of the rice paper. Be careful not to put too much or sushi roll will not close well.
Use bamboo mat to lift edges up and over filling. Use fingers to tuck roll.
Tuck mat tightly into roll shape so only nori with no rice is exposed, pull back and tighten.
Move mat and shape roll, repeat squeeze and shape.
Slice and wipe with wet towel after each slice to prevent knife from getting too sticky.
Cut in half and then each half into 3 segments.
Garnish with additional spicy mayo drizzle or extra sriracha sauce (optional).
Leftovers and Storage: Eat immediately. Do not store.
Is spicy kani roll cooked?
Yes, a spicy kani roll is cooked. A spicy kani roll is made from sushi rice, nori seaweed and a mixture of spicy mayo sauce and imitation crab (kanikama or surimi) which is cooked. This mixture is called kani salad and is used the this crab roll recipe.
What is kani sushi?
Kani sushi (or kani maki) is any kind of sushi that uses crab or “kani” (Japanese).
Kanikama is the immitation version of crab, also called surimi (which is sometimes made of white fish, not crab but tastes similar).
You can make kani sushi and kani salad with real crab (canned crab meat or fresh) or imitation crab.
Some examples of kani sushi (sushi with crab) include crispy kani roll, spicy kani sushi roll, spicy crunchy kani roll, sushi crab roll, spicy sushi rolls with crab, crab meat sushi and crunchy kani maki.
FAQ and expert tips
Looking for other delicious sushi recipes?
- Tobiko Sushi
- Alaska Roll Sushi
- Sweet Potato Sushi Roll
- Vegetable Sushi
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