How to make: Kani salad

How to make: Kani salad

This recipe has been updated on August 6, 2009 @ 11.54 a.m.

Fresh. Green. Bright. Juicy. These are words I associate with the summer. Philippine summers are either famous or notorious depending on how you look at it. We can swear all we want about the heat that can get terribly oppressive, yet, there is a part of us that welcomes the summer because of the childhood memories it evokes. Carefree days in the sun, warm nights on the beach, visits to grandparents in the province and climbing trees for a first bite of the freshest and most luscious fruits imaginable.

It may be this association that makes me think of salads during the summer. Crisp green leafy vegetables, a medley of colors and textures, light, cool and every mouthful refreshing. At home, there is a salad that has become a favorite, Japanese kani salad. It is very easy to prepare and the ingredients are available in most supermarkets all year ’round.

Where does kani salad get its name? While kani is the Japanese name for crab, kani is also short for kani kama (not to be confused with kanitama or crab omelet), the imitation crab sticks that you often find in sushi rolls and one of the essential ingredients of kani salad.

It is quite easy to prepare kani salad at home (my two teenaged daughters made the salad in the photo). To serve four to six persons, you will need:

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled or unpeeled and seeds scooped out
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • a bunch of lettuce (varieties that can retain their shape like iceberg and romaine are best), torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 fresh ripe mangoes, thinly sliced
  • 100 to 150 grams of kani kama (imitation crab sticks), pulled apart into thin shreds
  • 1/3 cup of Japanese mayonnaise (thinner than American mayonnaise and the flavor is different too since it is usually made with rice vinegar)
  • a drizzle of sesame seed oil (use very sparingly as the taste and flavor are quite strong)
  • Tobiko (orange-colored flying fish roe), optional as it is quite expensive

Thinly slice the cucumbers and carrot, and julienne (cut into matchsticks). Alternatively, use the shredder commonly used for making buko salad.

To serve, you can toss the cucumbers, carrot, lettuce and mangoes with the Japanese mayonnaise, drizzle with a little sasame seed oil and top with tobiko.

If you want a prettier presentation, line each salad bowl with torn lettuce, scatter some carrot, cucumber and kani on top, drizzle the mayonnaise in a spiral, sprinkle with sesame seed oil and top with tobiko.

[Republished from my food column]

  • Jaecel

    Hi Miss Connie! :)
    Thank you for the recipe. Now I know what to do with our leftover crab sticks from Christmas (it’s not expired yet. Bwehehe.). ;) Where did you buy the Japanese mayo and how much is it? Thank you in advance. :)

    • Connie

      At Shopwise, Jaecel. Forgot the price though.

      • Liza

        Hi Ms. connie, help me please… where can I buy Japanese mayo? Thank you!

        • Connie

          In most supermarkets.

        • GAB

          I also make this at home since we love ordering this from Japanese restos.

          Do you have a brand of crabmeat that you prefer? The ones I’ve bought are not easy to pull apart…they are whole underneath even if it looks like strips when you look at the pack.

          The tool I use is the one used for buko or melon strips…only P20 from local markets. There are also ones in SM.

          I garnish mine with sesame seeds and bits of seaweed (leftovers from making maki)…family and friends love it!

          • Connie

            We’re not very particular about the brand of crabmeat. Whatever’s available…

          • leigh

            i added apples for my sweet tooth. great recipe and using japanese mayonnaise really makes a difference. :)

          • joy

            use the Japanese brand =) (Japanese labels)
            its easy to pull apart and mas malasa =)

  • cindy

    Hi Ms. Connie! kani salad has been a frustration of mine! I can never seem to get how they do it in Japanese restaurants. Adding sesame oil sounds like it may be the missing piece—will pick up kani tomorrow. Any particular brand you recommend? and does it have to be rinsed, because sometimes there’s a slight smell. Thanks! love your blog. God Bless you and the family.

    • June

      Hmmmm… this looks very delicious! I should try this one of these days when hubby is not around. He is not a fan of oriental cooking hehehe. Thanks Connie!

    • joy

      hi! i just want to know where can i buy the tobiko? we always make kani salad, but we can’t find tobiko on supermarkets… tia =)

      • Connie

        I find tobiko at Shopwise from time to time.

        • Rachel

          Thanks for a great recipe! What is the crunch that restaurants put on top of the Kani salad? Is it tempura batter made into pear like figures and then blended or is it french fried onions? Thanks!
          Also you don’t write anything about sushi rice in your recipe. Don’t you put sushi rice on top of the lettuce and then add the carrots, cucumbers and mango?

          • Connie

            I don’t know where you eat your kani salad but there is no crunchy anything nor rice included.

          • ivy

            This is my most fave salad ever! But I have a problem with crab sticks, pls teach me some tips on how to easily pull into strips? I always cut it into round for a lesser time… but I like strips I dont like round crab sticks… :( do i need to cook the imitation crab sticks? or i can do the thing of pulling it into strips as is?
            anyways, i dont put Tobiko and sesame oil on my salad and I used Ladys Choice mayo and it taste good as well….. I bought this japanese mayo from supermarket but thats too sour… I dont like the taste , im still looking for more japanese mayo coz i want to try it!

          • Connie Veneracion

            “do i need to cook the imitation crab sticks”


          • Fionski

            I’ve been making this. I forwarded your recipe to my friend. :)

            Is there a type of mayonnaise or brand that we can use instead of the Japanese mayonnaise?

          • joe

            Japaneses Mayo is pretty easy to make. Most super markets have the ingredients.

            sriracha (a Japanese chili sauce)

            I don’t know rhw exact measurements of the top of my head but if you have
            trouble finding them I can get back to you

          • Connie Veneracion

            Japanese mayo is made with soya oil. Most commercial mayo have corn oil. You won’t get the same mouth feel by just mixing mayo and chili sauce.

  • noes

    I made this last night, Connie, my husband likes it and he finished it. I showed your website and told him your a good cook. Only thing, I did not have japanese mayo so used the regular one but its all good.

  • welch

    thanks for the recipe i’ve been dying to make one for a long time but didn’t know how. my friend always brings some in school and its so good., can’t wait to give it a try tnx again

  • Connie

    Ummm… you might try sweetening ordinary mayo with a little honey or corn syrup, Jerome.


      gud am ms. connie

      may i know how it to be prepared (the kani salad)



      • Connie

        It’s right there in the entry. The ingredients and the procedure.

  • Mads

    hi Ms. Connie, i’m very interested with the Kani salad. thanks for sharing your recipe. Anyway, just curios on how to prepare the tobiko (my favorite ingredient)? Do i have to cook it or i’ll just rinse it with water? thanks! :-)

    • Connie

      No, you don’t cook it. Just spoon it over the salad.

      • Vi

        We love Japanese food and we order this dish everytime. Now I made it myself through your recipe and loved it! Thank you for sharing your recipes. You touch people’s lives:-)

        • Connie

          Thank you. That means I succeed as a writer. :)

      • JK

        The salad is grate, but I can’t find the right tools. I bought 5 different shredders and cannot find THE one. Can you recommend which one is the right one and where to buy it. Do you know if Cuisinard food processor offers it as one of the blades? Thank you in advance!

        • Connie

          Oh, the grater we use is a “native” tool in this country. But you can use the julienne tool which looks like a mandolin but, instead of merely slicing, juliennes the veggies.

          • grace

            is it a plain japanese mayo for the kani salad? plus sesame seeds on it is that how simply it is? But mayo is so creamy and fatty can u spare me how to do the dressing for personal consumption only since i take a lot of veggies due to high in cholesterol…where can i buy the japanese mayo? SM is my most convenient grocery can i find it here? thnks

          • Connie

            Lessen the mayo. Use only enough to moisten the veggies. Japanese mayo is available is most supermarkets.

          • http://facebook anna cruz

            Kani salad is one my favorite salads. Thanks for this recipe..I would surely try this one.. Where can i get the Tobiko Ms. Connie?

          • Connie

            In the larger supermarkets. Availability seems to be seasonal though.

          • peterb

            The Cold Storage area of the large supermarkets.

            This is my Mom’s favorite. I gotta try this!

        • Alisa

          Just made this and it was wonderful! Thanks again for these wonderful recipes :)

          • Christine

            Hi ate connie!Tnx god i discover ur blogs lately…I learned a lot from u…I’m excited to try ur custard cake recipe for the bday of my nephew.,hope i can do it with atleast half of ur perfctions…Gudlak to me!…He!He!..God bless & mor power!

          • ivy

            sharing my Kani salad….. :)

          • ivy
          • Connie Veneracion

            The link doesn’t work.

  • Jerome

    I’m really a big fan of Japanese cuisine and I would definitely ask my wife to try this for one of our dinner. I just hope we can find Japanese mayo in our part of the country. Just in case, any alternative for the Japanese mayo?

    Great blog!

  • Jerome

    Thank you so much Ms. Connie. I’ll tell my wife about that. By the way, she’s also a frequent reader of your blog. More power!