Kani salad is a Japanese version of crab salad made with thin crab sticks and julienned crunchy vegetables, dressed with a spicy mayonnaise dressing, and topped with panko for an extra crunch! Just like the kani salad that you get at the sushi shop or a Japanese steakhouse (if not better!).

kani salad
kani salad

Kani Salad Recipe

If you’re wondering what does kani mean, it’s the imitation crab meat usually made from white fish, usually pollock, that is processed in a way to look and taste like crab meat. It’s an essential ingredient at Japanese steakhouses and often used in sushi and salads, but you can use real crab meat here if you prefer.

This is a very simple recipe and all you need is just 5 ingredients for the salad and a few ingredients for the easy mayo-based dressing. Here’s what you’ll need:

To make kani salad:

  • In a bowl or a jug, whisk all of the dressing ingredients until it’s well combined and creamy. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference.
  • To a bowl, add the shredded crab sticks (I shred them using my hands, and the string separate very easily), julienned cucumber, carrot, and mango.
  • Add the dressing to the crab and vegetables, and give it a good toss.
  • Serve in a shallow bowl or serving plate, top with panko and drizzle with extra dressing.

Spicy Kani salad is spicy but it’s also sweet and tart, the veggies and panko are crunchy, and the dressing gives a lovely spicy creaminess. When these different flavors are combined to make this tasty kani salad, make the best combination ever!

The Kani salad that you get at sushi shops is made with Japanese mayo, I don’t usually have it available so I just use regular mayo. The difference between regular and Japanese mayo is the strength of the egg flavor and the sweetness, Japanese mayo seems to have a stronger egg flavor, and it has a sweeter tang.

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