Scrumptious spicy crab salad is both easy to make and bursting with flavor. This recipe features a combination of crunchy vegetables and imitation crab sticks coated in a creamy tandoori mayonnaise dressing.
Enjoy them on their own with salty crackers, or use them to elevate your sandwich or wrap game.
I am adding a delicious Indian twist to the spicy crab salad recipe that is hugely popular in Japanese steakhouses and sushi restaurants. While the main ingredient of the kanikama salad is the same, which is kani sticks, I am adding a twist to the spicy mayonnaise dressing. The Japanese crab salad is made using a dressing of Japanese mayonnaise, rice vinegar, sriracha sauce, and soy sauce.
This creamy crab salad is made using imitation crab meat or kanikama. It also works as a tasty side dish or even a main meal. This easy spicy kani salad recipe is also great as a side dish or even a main meal.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Unique and delicious: With a combination of crab sticks, crunchy vegetables, and a creamy and spicy tandoori mayonnaise dressing, it offers a bold and exciting flavor profile that is sure to please.
- Easy to make: This dish is incredibly easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time, making it perfect for meal prep.
- Versatile: This salad can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, such as on its own as an appetizer or as a filling for sushi rolls, sandwiches, or wraps.
- Customizable: You can customize the recipe to your liking by adjusting the spice level or adding your favorite ingredients, such as avocado, masago (roe), or sesame seeds. You can also use grilled shrimp along with crab in this salad.
What is imitation crab?
Imitation crab sticks are made of surimi fish (which is a mild white fish) that has been processed with starch. It is also called crab sticks, krab sticks, kanikama, kani kamaboko, or seafood sticks. The processed fish is shaped to resemble crab legs, hence giving them the name.
Although kani is not a traditional Japanese dish, they were popularized in American Japanese restaurants. These crab sticks are added to sushi rolls, sushi rice, and salads.
Imitation crab: I have used crab sticks. You can also replace it with real crab meat.
Veggies: I use cabbage, carrots, cucumber, red onion, and red bell peppers.
Dressing: I am making a tandoori mayo dressing for the salad using mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, and spices.
Step 1: In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for dressing - mayonnaise, sour cream, ground ginger, garlic powder, chili powder, garam masala, ground cardamom, sugar, salt, and fresh lime juice (or fresh lemon juice). Mix well and set it aside.
Step 2: Cut the imitation crab into thin strips. Cut the red onions, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, and cabbage into thin strips. In a large bowl, take the crab and the julienned veggies. Add the creamy mayo dressing to the crunchy vegetables.
Step 3: Toss the salad well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and store it in the refrigerator for one hour to let the flavors absorb before serving.
Let the salad sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour before serving. This will help absorb the flavors from the kani salad dressing.
You can replace imitation crab with lump crab meat. You can also use a mix of cooked seafood to make spicy seafood salad.
Use mini fresh cucumbers (like Persian cucumber) with fewer seeds. Lime juice can be replaced with lemon juice in this salad.
You can also use store-bought tandoori seasoning instead of spices to make the salad.
Any leftover imitation crab salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
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Spicy Crab Salad with Tandoori Mayo Dressing
For the salad:
- 8 oz imitation crab sticks (or crab meat) cut into thin slices
- 1 small cucumber cut into thin strips
- 1 small carrot cut into thin strips
- ½ cup cabbage shredded
- ¼ cup bell peppers cut into thin strips
- ½ small red onion sliced
Make the tandoori mayo dressing:
- In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for dressing - mayonnaise, sour cream, ground ginger, ground garlic, chili powder, garam masala, ground cardamom, sugar, salt, and lemon juice.
- Mix well and set it aside.
Prep the crab and veggies:
- Cut the imitation crab into thin strips. Cut the onion, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, and cabbage into thin strips.
Make the salad:
- In a large bowl, take the crab and the prepared veggies. Add the mayo dressing and toss the salad well.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and store it in the refrigerator for one hour to let the flavors absorb before serving.