Light, healthy, and delicious this spicy kani cucumber salad is perfect for the warmer spring and summer months. This entire recipe takes only 15 minutes to make, and it is incredibly delicious. Made from a few simple ingredients, you’re going to be addicted to this salad.

Spicy Kani Cucumber Salad – Healthyish Foods

About this recipe

Kani is the Japanese terms for crab. The origin of the kani cucumber salad is still unclear to this day. However, it’s believed that it may have originated in the US. That said, I can still remember the first time I tried a kani cucumber salad. It was at a small restaurant in Pittsburgh called, Tamari. While the restaurant is no longer there, this salad has always been stuck in my mind.

For this spicy kani cucumber salad recipe, it’s best to use imitation crab vs real crab. The imitation crab is easy to work with and pull apart. Simply unroll the crab and peel it into long thin strands. The thinner the better. The long thins strands of imitation crab are a signature ingredient in the kani salad.

Also, you will need to use a julienne peeler for the cucumber. This will give you the long signature strands. Simply wash the cucumber, dry it and begin to peel. Once you start to get close to the center, turn the cucumber and begin peeling a new side. You do not want to peel into the core of the cucumber. It gets too soft and watery. Place the long strands on a paper towel to press out any excess moisture.

Spicy Kani Cucumber Salad – Healthyish Foods


Often times you will see kani salad topped with tobiko and tempura flakes. Tobiko is a form of flying fish roe or fish eggs. They are very small but very flavorful. Since these ingredients can be hard to come by, I topped mine with toasted sesame seeds and crushed peanuts for a little crunch. It’s beyond delicious. You can even add a touch of salt if you desire. However, I encourage you to try this salad with tobiko and tempura flakes if you ever have the opportunity.

Spicy Kani Cucumber Salad – Healthyish Foods


Prepare this recipe for your next gathering or as a meal prep item through the week. This salad should stay fresh refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. However, it is best enjoyed immediately. Freezing is not an option.

Looking for more salad recipes? Try my street veggies pasta salad or my whole wheat casarecca pasta salad. Both are delicious and easy to make.

Spicy Kani Cucumber Salad – Healthyish Foods

Spicy Kani Cucumber Salad

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Kani and cucumber

  • 12 ounces imitation legstyle crab , 8 sticks
  • 1 large English cucumber , or two medium

Spicy sauce

  • 4.5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • ¼ cup crush peanuts
  • 2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • cilantro
  • scallions


  • mixing bowl
  • julienne peeler


Prepare the sauce:

  • Grab a mixing bowl and combine the sauce ingredients. These include, mayonnaise, sriracha, rice vinegar, cane sugar, and salt. Whisk until well combined.

Prepare the cucumber and kani:

  • Using the julienne peeler, begin to peel the cucumber. You want to avoid the center of the cucumber since it is too soft and mushy. Simply rotate the cucumber to a new side and begin peeling again. You make about 3-4 strokes per side depending on the thickness of the cucumber.
  • Once the cucumber is peeled, place it on a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. You can gently press it the cucumber with paper towel as well.
  • Next, unroll the kani with your hands. Simply peel the crab into long thin strands. The thinner the better.

Assemble the dish:

  • Add the peeled crab and cucumber strands into the mixing bowl with the sauce. Toss until the cucumber and crab is well coated.
  • Chill covered in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
  • Top with toasted sesame seeds, and crushed peanuts. You can also add some chopped cilantro or scallions too.
  • Enjoy!