Kani Salad – Japanese Crab Salad
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This is a light and creamy kani cucumber salad with sweet and salty flavors your whole family will love – and it only takes 10 minutes to make from start to finish!
Kani Salad – カニ サラダ
I just finished watching Master of None on Netflix, and it got me thinking about how hard it must have been for my mother to adapt living in Canada. She came from the southern region of Japan where temperatures rarely dip below the forties, to Canadian winters where three feet of snow won’t close any schools.
Adding to that was the language barrier – she couldn’t speak a word of French, and to make matters worse, had no access to Japanese food. Zilch, nada, zero.
This was back in the ’70s when shopping online was inconceivable and long distance calls cost two dollars a minute.
The closest Japanese supermarket was a two hour drive away so whenever we made a trip there, it was serious business. We would stock up on rice, kombu, soy sauce and other Japanese pantry essentials, I would get my favorite Botan rice and Milky candy, and we would end the morning by having lunch at a sushi restaurant.
The menu was simple and consisting of traditional Japanese food. One dish I clearly remember loving was kani salad. I liked it so much that I asked my mother to make it at home.
And as always, her version ended up being 10 times better than the restaurant’s.
This kani salad (kani means crab in Japanese) is a great example of how brilliant she was (and still is) in the kitchen, and why everyone always wanted to come over to our place for dinner! She had a knack for whipping up dishes that were very simple yet, beautiful and delicious.
To this day, I feel very lucky to have been exposed to such great food at such a young age. I’ve learned from the best!
How To Make Kani Salad
Making a Japanese crab salad is about the easiest thing to whip up. It only takes 10 minutes to make and 7 ingredients:
- English cucumber
- Imitation crab
- Light mayonnaise
- Apple cider vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Ground black pepper
Start by peeling half of the cucumber and slice it on the thinnest setting on a mandolin. You can also do this using a knife. Then grab the cucumber slices, place them in the palm of your hand and squeeze out the excess liquid.
Add them to a mixing bowl along with the imitation crab and shallots.
In a separate bowl, whisk in the mayonnaise, vinegar, soy sauce and black pepper and pour the mixture over the cucumber, crab and shallots. Toss well and serve!
I especially love this salad when it’s cold so I recommend making it a little ahead of time so it has time to chill in the fridge.
Spicy Kani Salad
Making a spicy kani salad is pretty much the same as making a regular one. The only difference is the addition of sriracha sauce.
For this recipe, I recommend starting with 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce. Give it a taste and add more if you like more heat.
What you will end up with is one tasty crab salad recipe you won’t be able to stop eating!
It’s light, creamy, crunchy, sweet, savory and peppery – and makes a wonderful side dish, snack or appetizer.
Kani Salad Sushi
Why not add it to your next sushi rolls!
I have an easy spicy tuna roll recipe that can be used as a base for kani salad sushi. Follow the steps to make the rice and rolls and swap the spicy tuna filling for the kani salad one. Just make sure to finely chop the crab and cucumber salad before using it in rolls otherwise it will be too chunky to fit in a roll.
You can also add a few mango slices for sweetness!
Other simple Japanese dishes:
- California roll + spicy California roll
- Miso ramen
- Agedashi tofu
- Okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza)
Did you like this Kani Salad Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
Kani Salad – カニ サラダ
This is a light and creamy Japanese crab salad that can be served as a side or a snack. Ready in just 10 minutes!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 people 1x
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: Japanese
- 1/2 English cucumber (sliced thin, using a mandolin on its thinnest setting)
- 3 ounces imitation crab (finely chopped lengthwise)
- 2 tablespoons shallot (minced)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Spicy Kani Salad:
- Use all the ingredients from above plus 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce or more.
- Take cucumber slices in the palm of your hands and squeeze out as much water as you can – be careful not to break the slices.
- Put cucumber, imitation crab and shallot in a bowl and briefly toss.
- In a separate bowl, whisk mayonnaise, cider vinegar, soy sauce and black pepper, until smooth. Add sriracha sauce at this point if you are making the spicy version.
- Add mayo dressing to the cucumber, crab and shallot mix and stir well, until all the ingredients are evenly coated. Serve.
This Kani Salad will keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.
I find Japanese mandolins to be easier and safer to use as they are easier to handle for smaller hands.
Keywords: recipe, appetizer, side, snack, easy
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