Surimi Kanikama Maki Roll: A Thick Futomaki Recipe
Have you had surimi maki and fallen in love with it as I have?
Surimi Maki is the perfect roll! It’s very easy to make without any expensive fresh fish, yet still delicious. This easy-to-eat “kani maki”, or rather futomaki because we’re going to make a thick roll, is made with imitation crab, avocado, and rice, perfect for a quick snack or a light meal.
So let’s roll it!
In this post we'll cover:
How to make a kanikama maki roll at home
Surimi Kanikama Maki Roll
For the fillings
- 4 kanikama surimi crab sticks
- 4 inches cucumber
- ¼ avocado
For the sauce
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp kewpie Japanese mayonnaise
For the wrapping
- 2 sheets nori
- 9 ounces short grain sushi rice pre-made with seasoning
- 2 tbsp soy sauce in a saucer
- Pad the kanikama dry with a kitchen towel and then cut them in half across the length, so you get two thin strips.
- Cut the cucumber into thin strips and peel the avocado. Cut that into strips as well, slightly larger otherwise it's undoable and drizzle some of the lemon juice on it wto keep the strips from turning brown.
- Lay out the bamboo sushi mat and cover it with plastic wrap, then use a spoon to put half of the rice on top (you're going to make two of these), moisten your hands with some water, and start spreading the rice out across the sheet. Be sure to leave just a little space on the bottom and top of the nori so you can use that to fasten the rolls later.
- Roll the maki with the bamboo mat, and take your time to be precise.
- Then it's ready to serve. Cut it into 8 equal round pieces and start making the second roll.
- Serve on a plate with a little soy sauce served on the side.
Kani means crab meat, so kani maki is crab meat wrapped in rice and nori seaweed. A kani sushi roll is natural crab meat but can also refer to kanikama (surimi sticks) fake crab.
Kani maki is cooked crab wrapped in rice and nori seaweed. Both the crab (or fake crab) and the sushi rice are cooked for making the center, and nori is roasted before used to roll the sushi.
To make perfect sushi rice, rinse the rice several times to get rid of excess starch. Then cook according to package directions.
Once cooked, add a few drops of mirin and sushi vinegar and mix well. Let the rice cool before using it for sushi.
My favorite mirin to use for sushi is just this cheap but effective Kikkoman Manjo Aji Mirin:
The vinegar you use for your sushi rice has to be sushi vinegar. Rice vinegar won’t do as it doesn’t have the same salinity and sweetness to it.
The brand I use is Mizkan, a great affordable sushi seasoning that gets the job done:
I personally like to work with these larger crab sticks from Marutama Fisheries because it’s hard to find others that have an authentic taste. Plus the large size is great for adding it to larger sushi rolls:
Kewpie is almost synonymous with Japanese mayonnaise. In fact, it claims to be the originator of Japanese mayo.
You can, of course, use any type of Japanese mayo, but this recipe pairs best with the vinegary sweet taste of the Kewpie brand:
If you can’t find imitation crab, you can use real crab meat, which is more expensive of course. And I thin you’ll find it easier to find surimi sticks as well, so that’s not a real helpful tip :(
If you don’t have any, just make a different sushi roll right now and come back to this recipe later.
Kewpie substitute for surimi maki rolls
If you don’t have kewpie, you can use regular mayo as well. Add a little vinegar and sugar to get the taste close to what kewpie would bring to the dish.
Kewpie is a little more sour and sweet than American mayonnaise, so adding those ingredients can help get the right balance back.
How to store leftover kani maki
If you have any kani maki left over, just wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to a day. It’s best eaten cold anyway!
Easy, delicious, and cheap. What more could you ask for? Be sure to add this recipe to your to do list next time you’re making a few sushi rolls.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.