But you know what the curious part is? Authentic traditional Japanese kani salad is a far simpler dish. All-in kani salads, like mine, are more fusion than anything else. And “all-in” means there’s more than just kani in the salad.
There’s carrot which we cut into matchsticks. To make the sticks really, really thin, we slice the carrot using a mandoline, stack the slices then cut them as thinly as we can manage.
Cucumber is also cut in the same way. Sliced on a mandoline then cut into matchsticks by hand. Ripe mango is cut open, the stone discarded, then each “cheek” is scored then scooped out shallowly to create thin strips that mimic the size and shape of the carrot and cucumber matchsticks.
It’s kani salad so, of course, there’s kani. Kani is bought frozen so we thaw it first and peel off the plastic wrapper. When the crab stick is pressed, it is easier to pull it apart into shreds.
Lettuce is optional but we like to add it to kani salad for textural contrast and for color.
All the ingredients are tossed together with Japanese mayo and a little sesame seed oil. And it’s ready to serve. As a side dish or as a snack.
- 100 to 150 grams kani (imitation crab sticks)
- 1 medium carrot - peeled
- 2 medium cucumbers - or 1 large; peeled or unpeeled and seeds scooped out
- 1 bunch lettuce - varieties that can retain their shape like iceberg and romaine are recommended
- 1 drizzle sesame seed oil
- ¼ cup Japanese mayonnaise
- Remove the plastic film wrapper of the kani and discard.
- Press each kani from tip to tip between your fingers. Pull apart to shred.
- Thinly slice carrot, and julienne (cut into matchsticks).
- Do the same with the cucumber
- Cut the mango; discard the stone.
- Slash diagonally, the slashes about a quarter inch apart, all the way but without cutting through the skin.
- Using a spoon, scoop out shallowly to come up with thin strips.
- Rinse the lettuce and dry in a salad spinner. Cut the leaves horizontally into half-inch slices.
- Place the shredded kani, julienned carrot and cucumber, sliced mango and lettuce in a mixing bowl.
- Drizzle in the sesame seed oil.
- Toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Use your hands to toss to avoid bruising the ingredients.
- Add the Japanese mayo. Toss the kani salad once more to moisten everything evenly.