This spicy Kani salad recipe is an easy and refreshing salad that tastes just like the dish you order at your favorite Japanese restaurant. Made with crab sticks, cucumber, carrot and kewpie sesame dressing. Ready in 10 minutes.
What is kani salad?
Kani translates as “crab” from Japanese. However, it is widely used for imitation crab meat found in many Japanese dishes like shrimp tempura roll or sushi.
Imitation crab meat is known as “hot dog of the sea” and is made from white fish that is minced into a paste. It tastes similar like real crab and is even artificially–coloured to resemble crab’s appearance.
So Kani salad is a salad made with imitation crab meat.
Kani Salad recipe
Kani salad has only a few ingredients, but is incredibly flavorful. To make this salad you will need imitation crab sticks, cucumber, carrot and Japanese kewpie dressing. If you can’t find the last, I will provide a recipe for the homemade dressing below.
Reasons to love Kani salad:
- It is flavorful and very creamy. Both the salad dressing and crab sticks provide this creaminess.
- It is just a little spicy, but you can adjust the amount of sriracha sauce to your liking.
- You can play with the ratio of crab to carrot and cucumber. If you like crunchy salads, add 2 cucumbers and 2 carrots.
- This salad is budget-friendly, yet very fancy.
- It is super easy and quick to whip it up.
How to make Kani Salad
Kani salad is ridiculously easy to make. Simply combine shredded crab sticks, carrot and cucumber with a mayo-based sesame dressing (Kewpie). This dressing is spiced with sriracha, you can adjust the amount to your liking.
Kani Salad Ingredients
Imitation crab meat: The sticks are not actually crab. They are made from processed white fish, known as surimi. They shape it and artificially-colour to resemble a crab.
Cucumber and carrot: They make this salad crunchy. Feel free to adjust the ratio. Make sure to remove the core of cucumber to prevent the salad from getting watery.
Kani Salad dressing
- Kewpie dressing: You can find it at local Asian grocery stores or at amazon. My absolute favourite is Kewpie dressing with roasted sesame seeds.
- Rice Vinegar: Both mirin and rice vinegar work well for this recipe.
- Sriracha sauce: It adds heat to the salad. If you don’t have it on hand, you can substitute it with any chili sauce or omit if you wish.
How to make Kani salad dressing
If you can’t get Kewpie, here is the recipe for homemade dressing for kani salad.
- Mayonnaise- ⅓ cup
- Toasted sesame oil- 1 tablespoon
- Roasted sesame seeds- 2 teaspoons
- Rice vinegar/mirin- 2 tablespoons
- Sriracha sauce-1 tablespoon
- A pinch of sugar
How To Assemble Spicy Kani Salad
Place the shredded carrot, cucumber and crab sticks into a large bowl. Pour the dressing over it and toss to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Can I make kani salad ahead of time?
Kani salad is best the day it is made. But you can prepare it one day in advance. Prepare the dressing and shred crab sticks, cucumber and carrot. Don’t mix. Refrigerate separately. When you are ready to serve it, add the dressing and toss everything together.
How to store kani salad?
You are lucky, if there is any leftover salad. In our family it disappears in minutes. Simply transfer the salad to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days.
Love Japanese-inspired recipes? Try these!!
Other imitation crab recipes
If you make this kani salad be sure to leave a comment or give this recipe a rating! I will be happy to hear from you!Print
All rights reserved. CHEF JAR. All images and content are copyright protected. PLEASE do not use my images without my permission. If you want to share this recipe, PLEASE provide a link back to this post.
If you make this recipe, take a photo of your creation and hashtag it # CHEFJAR on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!