Kani salad is a Japanese salad that is primarily composed of imitation crab sticks. The “crab” is actually made up of white fish that is condensed into sticks and is quite a bit cheaper that actual crab meat. Kani salad is served in most Japanese restaurants with other ingredient such as cucumber, mango and panko, which is a crispy bread crumbs, and tends to be a bit spicy. The panko is typically sprinkled as a garnish just prior to serving so that it does not become too soggy. The dish is usually served cold.
Preparing and cooking kani salad generally takes about 30 minutes. Some of the other ingredients for the dressing include chili sauce, carrots, ginger, rice vinegar and mayonnaise. Sugar, salt and paprika may also be added. Once the dressing ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together, the imitation crab is placed in a bowl with peeled cucumber. The dressing is then poured over the crab and cucumber and mixed together.
Once the kani salad is ready it is sometimes served over a bed of lettuce and the panko is sprinkled over the top. The imitation crab sticks, or surimi, are composed of white fish such as Alaska pollock or cod that has been finely ground and then cured and molded to resemble crab legs. Sometimes egg whites are added for flavoring. Food coloring is also added to give the imitation crab legs a reddish hue to complete the imitation. Once the imitation crab is complete, it can have almost the same texture, smell and taste of the real thing.
There are many different types of salad that include imitation crab. It tends to have less cholesterol but is are also processed. This refers to natural food that has been processed to last longer or look more visually attractive to buyers.
Surimi is a popular food in Asia and can be used to duplicate the taste and look of lobster and many other types of shellfish as well. In European countries imitation crab sticks are known as crab or fish sticks, whereas in the United States it is known as imitation or mock crab. Two to three percent of the world’s fish catches are given over to the manufacturing of surimi with North America and Japan as the chief consumers and producers of the product. Many other countries across the world are beginning to produce and consume surimi for kani salad as well.