About this recipe
Hot and spicy crab sticks and crunchy vegetables dressed in a delicious tandoori mayonnaise dressing is so delicious and hearty. Perfectly spiced with the right amount of tang, freshness, and crunch, this crab salad is incredibly easy to make.
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. Scoop them with salty crackers, or fill them in your sandwich or wraps to make spicy crab rolls, they are perfect in every way. This easy spicy kani salad recipe is also great as a side dish or even a main meal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are on a keto diet, use real crab meat instead of krab sticks to make this easy salad.
This salad also complements well with onigiri (Japanese rice balls).
More salad recipes:
This spicy crab salad is:
- unique and delicious,
- easy to make and great for meal prep,
- highly customizable as per your liking.
If you liked this recipe, please don't forget to give a 5-star rating and leave a comment below.
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
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder adjust as per taste
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
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.
The tandoori seasoning here was EXPLOSIVE! I loved the depth of flavor it added. Honestly, superb. It went so well with the delicate crab salads and took it to a whole other realm.
This was the most unique mayo dressing we've ever had and it worked beautifully with the crab. The whole family enjoyed it!
Healing Tomato says
There is nothing better than a spicy salad! This is an easy salad and the flavors are so unique. Beautiful photos, too.
I loved the burst of flavor from tandoori mayo in this salad. Tandoori mayo is my favorite condiment. It went so well with the sweet taste of crab meat. Really delicious.
This is so tasty! I loved the sweetness from the veggies and it was meaty enough to be a full meal!