This Kani Salad is made of imitation crab meat, mango, crunchy vegetables, and a spicy creamy dressing. Top it all off with panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds to make a salad that’s as good as (or even better than) your local sushi place or Japanese steakhouse!
If you want to try making homemade Kani salad, this is the recipe for you! This kani kama salad is refreshing and delicious.
The creamy mayo dressing is flavored with soy sauce, lemon, and sriracha. That little bit of heat is balanced out perfectly by the juicy cucumbers, crunchy carrots, and semi sweet and tart mango.
This is an easy salad to prepare for a summer picnic, a pot luck, or just to have in the fridge to serve as a side dish with dinner.
Everyone who tried this salad loved it, including my 6-year-old nephew (I call that a win!).
What Is Kani Salad?
Kani salad is a Japanese take on crab salad. It’s made with thin pieces of imitation crab sticks, julienned carrots, cucumbers, and mango. The salad is mixed with a creamy and spicy dressing made of mayonnaise, sriracha, and other flavorful ingredients. It’s all topped off with panko breadcrumbs for a delicious crunch that you’ll love!
What Is Kani Salad Made Of?
Dressing: The base of the dressing is normally Kewpie mayonnaise. This recipe uses regular mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar to mimic Kewpie mayo so that it’s easy to make with standard pantry ingredients. I do recommend using a good quality mayonnaise to start though – I use the Kirkland brand from Costco.
The sauce also gets its flavor from sriracha, soy sauce, lemon juice, black pepper, and fine sea salt. This version of the sauce isn’t too spicy, so I definitely recommend tasting the sauce after it’s mixed together and adding more sriracha if you like!
Imitation Crab Sticks: Kani refers to imitation crab meat that’s made to look like crab legs. It’s actually made from a white fish (most commonly pollock) and a few other ingredients. It’s formed and pressed to mimic the shape and texture of crab meat.
Cucumber: I recommend using an English cucumber or a Persian cucumber. They have sweeter flavors, smaller seeds, and contain less moisture than standard cucumbers. So, not only will the salad taste better with either of those varieties, but there’s less of a chance that your salad will end up soggy from all the liquid in a regular cucumber.
Carrot: Carrots are one of the few vegetables that I recommend buying organic. Where I live I can find the organic ones for the same price as conventional ones, and I can find them at all the major stores. I’ve noticed that organic carrots are noticeably sweeter and more flavorful, and that difference really shines through in this salad.
Mango: The mango adds a refreshing pop of sweetness to the salad, which contrasts so well with the creamy spicy dressing. It really lightens up this Japanese dish and makes it so delicious.
Toppings: Even though you get a lovely crunch from the julienned cucumber and carrots, I love the addition of panko bread crumbs for some additional crispiness. Sprinkling the top with white or black sesame seeds and some chopped scallions adds another delicious layer of flavor.
How To Make Kani Salad
Start by mixing together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Taste the dressing and add more sriracha if you’d like it spicier. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Prepare the kani, cucumber, carrot, and mango. Shred the kani, and use either a knife or a julienne peeler to julienne the vegetables and fruit. Add the salad ingredients to the bowl with the dressing, and gently toss to evenly coat. Stir in half of the panko breadcrumbs. Just before serving, top the salad with the remaining panko and some sesame seeds. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts and helpful tips, etc.
How Do You Make Regular Mayo Into Kewpie Mayo?
The main additions you need are vinegar and sugar. Those are included in the dressing recipe for this salad, which helps regular mayo mimic Kewpie mayo for this dish.
How Do You Shred Kani?
To quickly shred kani, you can press down on the kani using the side of your knife blade. As you’re pressing down, slide the knife from top to bottom. This will allow the shreds of the kani to separate and shred quickly and easily.
How To Pronounce Kani Salad
It’s pronounced like “Connie salad.”
What To Serve It With
I love serving it over leaves of romaine lettuce leaves arranged in a flower or star pattern – it looks so pretty like this! You can also serve it over a bed of chopped lettuce to make a heartier salad, inside a bun to make a crab salad sandwich, or with pieces of nori to wrap into little bite sized pieces.
Keep In Touch
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
If you like this recipe, be sure to try one of these reader favorite recipes!
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon sriracha (plus more to taste)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 ounces imitation crab sticks (peeled into thin strips)
- 1 English cucumber (julienned into strips about 3 inches long)
- 1 large carrot (julienned into strips about 3 inches long)
- 1 medium sized ripe mango (julienned into strips about 3 inches long)
- 3 Tablespoons Panko bread crumbs (divided)
- Sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)
- To a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk to combine. Taste the dressing at this point and add more sriracha if desired. Set the dressing aside while you prepare the salad ingredients.
- Add the crab strips, julienned cucumber, julienned carrot, and julienned mango to the bowl with the dressing. Gently toss until the salad is evenly coated, then add half of the panko bread crumbs and toss again.
- Transfer the salad to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, garnish with the remaining panko bread crumbs (and optional sesame seeds if using).
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292Total Fat: 14.7gCarbohydrates: 30.8gFiber: 2.1gSugar: 16.9gProtein: 10.1g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
If you’re looking for a delicious way to use imitation crab meat stick, try making this easy kani salad at home!