Mango kani salad is that addictive "crab" salad you get at Japanese restaurants. Both sweet and salty, you may have had it as a side salad or in spicy crab rolls.
This salad features rich and tangy Japanese mayo mixed with sriracha for a creamy, spicy crab, mango and veggie salad that only takes minutes to make! My chunky version gives big bites kani and mango that tastes awesome wrapped up in a big lettuce leaf.
Why I love this recipe
Spicy mango kani salad is a great side dish for sushi dinner or a Japanese themed party. This spicy sushi crab salad is a Japanese steakhouse classic. Serve it with lettuce wraps as a heathy and refreshing starter or side dish. It also makes a delicious and bold flavored filling for nori and sushi rolls.
If you've been following along with me for a bit, you'll know I LOVE Japanese recipes. This salad was inspired by the popular gomae or Goma Dressing Recipe and pairs really well with a Chirashi Sushi Bowl and Miso Baked Oysters for a delicious Japanese sushi meal at home. (For more cucumber ideas, check out 35+ Easy Cucumber Snack Ideas.)
With just 4 main ingredients plus 4 more ingredients for the sushi salad dressing, this comes together fast!
- Kani - Kani is Japanese for crab but in most restaurants, you will get the imitation crab sticks in the mango kani salad. Kani is made from flavored white fish. Mildly flavored, sweet and salty, kani sticks are also known as kamaboko sticks. Find them vacuum packed in the refrigerator section of the grocery store, often by the other seafood and/or anchovies. *If you happen to have real crab meat, it is absolutely delicious in this recipe. I have made this with fresh Dungeness crab and it is sooo delicious.
- Japanese Mayonnaise - Enriched with more egg and with a lighter, more lemony flavor, Japanese mayo is the best and usual choice for this sushi salad. It can be found in the Asian section of most large grocery stores or at almost any Asian grocer. Regular mayo can be used in a pinch. See substitutions below for details.
- Sriracha - Sweet and savory, with a hint of garlic, this thick and spicy chili sauce is one of my favorites. Use more or less in the dressing, depending how spicy you like it.
See recipe card for quantities.
Substitutions + Variations
Here are a few substitutions you can make if needed.
- Mayo - Swap regular mayo for the Japanese mayonnaise and add one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to the recipe.
- Hot Sauce - Instead of sriracha, you can use sambal oelek or hot chili sauce. These are all thick hot sauces that work best. I don't recommend thinner, more vinegar based sauces like Franks or Tobasco.
- Soy Sauce - Tamari sauce can be subbed for the soy sauce. If you are wanting to make this recipe gluten free, use the tamari sauce and be sure your kani is gluten free as some are not.
- Spicy Sushi Crab Salad - Omit the vegetables and use all crab or kani meat and a ½ cup of slivered green onion. An optional add in, 1-2 tablespoons of tobiko (red flying fish roe) adds crispness, an extra textural dimension often added at the sushi restaurant.
Love using spicy mayo in recipes? Check out the versions in my Easy Tilapia Fish Tacos With Crema And Cabbage Slaw and Fish Tacos With BC Cod.
How To Video
I bet you don't even need these pictures. The 4 salad ingredients each need to be sliced (or shredded) to a fairly uniform size. The spicy mayo dressing ingredients whip together fast and then it all gets tossed together. I've done matchstick size veggies but you can make them smaller (traditional, shredded ingredients) or larger as you like.
- Slice cucumber in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a teaspoon and then thinly slice into matchstick sized pieces.
2. Peel, trim and slice carrots in to the same size as the cukes.
3. Pit, peel and slice the mango the same way.
4. Finally slice or tear your kani sticks into similar length pieces as the vegetables and place all 4 ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Easy, right?!
5. Add hot chili sauce (sriracha), soy sauce, rice vinegar and mayo to a small bowl.
6. Stir well, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir again until smooth.
7. Scoop dressing onto salad and toss.
8. Serve mango kani salad in bowls, on lettuce leaves, on top of sushi rice or in nori rolls and enjoy!
Hint: The spicy sushi mayo recipe in this dish goes good on a lot of things. Make up a double batch and keep some for dipping Crispy Japanese Fish Katsu or homemade sushi rolls into. Keep it covered in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Unless otherwise specified, sushi crab salad is usually imitation crab meat. Kani sticks (aka kanikama) are made of surimi and are a type of flavored kamaboko stick. They have a longer (refrigerated) shelf life than real crab, often lasting up to a month or longer if vacuum sealed. Kani has a subtle seafood flavor and is mildly sweet and salty tasting with a soft, mildly stringy texture. You can cut them or tear them into thin strips.
Yes, kani sticks (imitation crab) is sold fully cooked and ready to serve or use in any preparation.
This recipe comes in at just under 180 calories. With 4 grams of protein this will give you good energy. It also boasts substantial amounts of vitamin A, C and calcium making it a delicious and nutritious dish.
I love to make this salad dressing ahead of time. Making spicy mayo dressing a few hours (and up to a week) ahead, lets all the ingredients meld and will result in the best flavor and texture.
If you have any questions or comments, you can find me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. I try to answer any recipe related questions quickly as I know you might be in the middle of making it. Also check out my FREE PRINTABLE meal planner to make menu planning and grocery shopping a breeze. And if you like this recipe, I would love it if you give it a star rating in the recipe card.
Cheers and happy cooking, Friends! Sabrina
Kanpai, Friends! Sabrina
Spicy Mango Kani Salad
- 1 lb Kani (16 oz)
- ¾ c Carrot about 1 medium size carrot
- 2 c English Cucumber one average cucumber
- 1 Ripe Mango
- ½ c Japanese Mayonnaise (kewpie mayonnaise)
- 1-2 tablespoon Sriracha Sauce depending how spicy you like it
- 1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Optional: Lettuce leaves, Avocado, Sesame Seeds
- Cut kani sticks into 2-3 inch lengths, and chop roughly into ¼-½ inch by 2-3 inch pieces (matchstick size).
- Peel carrot, deseed cucumber, and peel and pit mango. Slice all into thin matchsticks, 3-4 inches long and place in medium-sized bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sriracha, soy sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well with a whisk or fork until smooth.
- Top bowl of kani, carrot, cucumber, and mango with the spicy mayo dressing and toss well. Serve on salad plates cool or at room temperature.