Monday, July 9, 2018

Kani Salad 2

Kani salad is Japanese style crab stick salad. Main ingredients are kani (crab) sticks, seaweed and glass noodles. I guarantee this version of kani salad will be a big hit on your next potluck party.

Blog's Category: International, Salads, Vegetarian

I already posted lighter version of  Kani Salad before. This version has some additional ingredients, such as a glass noodles and cucumbers which add a great deal of freshness and flavor.

The main ingredient, kani stick, is a Japanese type of crab sticks, that easily fall apart into thin strands without elaborate knife work on your side. You can find this type of crab sticks in a frozen section of Asian grocery store, look for word "kani" on a package.

Ingredients for this salad are not easily available in our grocery stores. Most likely, you will need to make a trip to Asian market, but it is so worth it!

One more rare ingredient for this salad is masago roe. Find it in a freezer section of your Asian grocery store. Always keep it in a freezer, it is always used right from a freezer. If you can't find it, substitute it with toasted sesame seeds.


- Kani salad gives a lot of room for your creativity, so you can add some ingredients, remove others acording to your taste. I make this salad for years and, besides ingredients listed in this recipe, I  have being adding carrots, daikon, green onion, sesame seeds.

- Although, if you never make kani salad before, it would be good idea to stick to the recipe.

- Dressing for this salad is essentially one of many varieties of famous Yum Yum sauce. It's insanely delicious.

- There is another reason why this salad is a great choice for a party: some ingredients can be prepared in advance, such as noodles, dressing, crabsticks.

Kani Salad 2

To feed a crowd:
  • 1 package of sweet potato (or rice, or glass) noodles (about 12oz of dry noodles)
  • 1 large seedless English cucumber
  • 1 package kani sticks (16oz)
  • 1 medium tab of seaweed salad (about 1.5 cups)
  • 3 tbs masago roe (frozen), substitute with a toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup good mayonnaise such as Hellman's (or Japanese Kewpie)
  • 3 tsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tsp sesame oil (my favorite brand is Kadoya)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2-3 tbs sriracha sauce (or other hot chili sauce)
- Prepare dressing by mixing all dressing ingredients together. Taste it, adjust sugar or vinegar to your taste.

- Prepare noodles according to instructions, rinse thoroughly with a cold water, drain. Add a teaspoon of flavorless olive oil to avoid sticking them together.

- Prepare kani sticks: remove plastic cover from each kani stick, then, with your hands twist, tear sticks to take them apart into strands.

- Prepare cucumber: slice it into matchsticks, then add about 1 teaspoon of salt and leave for a 5-10 minutes. After this, rinse in a cold water, then drain and squeeze well to remove all water.

- To assemble the salad: in a glass rectangular baking dish (preferably with a plastic lid for a transportation convenience), lay all your noodles. If they stuck together, add a tablespoon of water or law sodium soy sauce, they will fall apart. 

- On a top of noodles, distribute squeezed from water cucumbers. Drizzle a little with a sauce.

- Place evenly a layer of kani (crabstick) strands. Generously drizzle with a sauce.

- On a top of kani, place a layer of seaweed salad. 

- This step is optional: use other ends of two forks to stir and fluff layers.

- Top with a masago roe. No need to get masago from a freezer in advance. Actually, it's better to work with masago when it's frozen. I used fork to fluff and then sprinkle row on a salad. And, yeah, there is no such thing as too much of masago IMHO ;)

- Enjoy!

In Pictures

yum yum sauce it is :)

This is how sweet potato noodles look like in a store. You can use also any type of rice or mung bean vermicelli, known as a glass noodles.

After salted cucumbers were rested for a while, they need to be rinsed, drained and squeezed of water. This technique is often used in oriental cooking to remove moisture from cucumbers and avoid salads to become too soggy from all the moisture cucumbers have.

This are kani sticks, they are easily separated into strands. Do not forget to remove plastic wrap as usually each stick wrapped into plastic.

I am making salad for our friend's party in a large baking dish (which conveniently comes with a plastic lid) and for my sonny Dan who stays at home (in a small container). 

I buy this salad at the same Asian market. It is also sold in a Costco lately in a bigger containers.

This salad is delicious on it own. 

I fluffed and stirred this salad before sprinkling masago roe.

Do not thaw masago. It is convenient to fluff and sprinkle it when it is still frozen.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Ukrainian Cherry Cake

This is an easy recipe of cherry cake the way my mom and my granny made it in Ukraine. It is very delicious, with a sour cherry bursts throughout in a sweet, moist dough. You have to have pitted sour (tart) cherries for it, fresh or frozen.

Blog's Category: Cakes, Dessert, International, Ukrainian, My Staple Food

I was at a local farm yesterday and picked a basket of beautiful sour cherries there. It is not easy to find tart cherry here, in US. Finding a local farm growing cherry trees is almost the only option for us, Eastern Europeans craving sour cherries. Besides satisfying this craving eating cherries from a tree (lucky me, there was rainy days before cleaning cherries off chemical sprays), I've got whole basket of them to freeze, make pies and compotes. Well, I ended up making this family-recipe cherry pie and freezing the rest of them for a future endeavors ;)


- I baked cakes in silicon cake forms, which I love to use for my baking, they don't require greasing. If you don't use silicon forms, don't forget to prepare your forms buttering them and dusting with flour before pouring batter in it.

- It's not your usual guilt-free butter-egg-sugar-flavor-free affair. You will have all the good stuff in it to enjoy small but perfect piece of cherry heaven. So, use sparingly at your own discretion ;)

- Substituting half of flour with a whole wheat variety sound like not bad idea.

- Almond extract is an optional ingredient, but I highly recommend it. It is a great compliment to any cherry pie.

- If you don't have almond extract or vanilla extract, use couple tablespoons of lemon zest.

- I don't bother taking butter from a fridge in advance, so I cut it in pieces to make a job easier for my electric beater.

Ukrainian Tart Cherry Cake

For two medium cakes:
  • 2.5 stick of unsalted butter (about 250 g)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 3 tbs sour cream
  • 4 cups pitted, fresh or frozen, sour (tart) cherries
  • 2 tbs sugar powder
- Pre-heat oven to 350F. Place your silicon forms (or regular forms, greased and dusted with a flour) on a baking sheet.

- In a bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

- Cut butter in pieces, place in a separate deep bowl, add sugar and, using electric mixer, beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Continue to beat, add eggs, one by one, and vanilla and almond extract.

- With a mixer on a low speed, combine butter and flour mix together. Mix just until combined, then add sour cream, again, mix just until smooth. Do not over-beat. 

- Distribute batter between two silicon forms. 

- Place your pitted cherries on a top of batter. Transfer cherries with your hands to avoid pouring cherry juices on a batter. No need to push cherries in a batter, they will sink in a dough on their own while baking in an oven.

- Bake at 350F for approximately 1 hour until golden-brown and center of your cake is firm when touched by finger.

- Remove from an oven, transfer forms on a cooling rack, let it cool completely. When completely cooled, remove cake from a form, place on a serving plate. Use sieve to dust with a powdered sugar. 

- Cake can be kept at room temperature for no more than 1 day. Otherwise, keep it in a fridge.

- Enjoy!

In Pictures