This Kani Sushi Rolls Recipe is The Perfect Way to Bond with Kids

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Children exposed to different types of food at an early age grow up to become adventurous eaters. Research has shown that the earlier you introduce a child to certain foods, the bigger the likelihood they will continue to enjoy them throughout their lifetime. One way to get them interested in food is to include them in the cooking process — or at the very least have them participate in the prep work. An ideal recipe to start with is Kani Sushi made with imitation crab sticks.

If your children get grossed out by the idea of eating sushi, hear us out. It can be a gateway to get them used to this Japanese specialty. The trick is to leave out the raw fish until they are old enough to handle it. For the time being, a simple Kani Roll will be the best vehicle to get your child a taste of some exotic cuisine. Consider it a great bonding activity for improving their motor skills too!

3-Part Method for Making Kani Sushi Rolls

Slices of Kani Sushi Rolls served on a small rectangular platter

Your lola might have warned you to quit playing with your food. While it’s a sweet reminder to not waste food, we beg to differ. These Kani Sushi Rolls are the perfect bites for you and your child to “play” with in the kitchen. Here’s what you will need to make the delectable snack.


  • 1 cup cooked Japanese rice
  • 1 to ½ tbsp Japanese rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp wasabi (optional)
  •  ½ cup Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise
  • 8 to 12 pcs kani sticks
  • 4 to 6 pcs nori sheets measuring 4x8 inches


  1. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Mix until sugar is completely dissolved. To make the rice fluffy, use a wooden or plastic spoon. Drizzle the vinegar mixture over the grains while fluffing in a gentle continuous manner. Set this aside to cool.
  2. Take a sushi mat and lay a nori sheet on top of it. With clean hands, scoop up some rice. To keep the rice from sticking to your hands and fingers, wet them with clean water. Let your child spread the rice on the sheets of nori. Make sure to leave half an inch on the topmost portion of the sheet.
  3. On the lower edge of the sheet, arrange the kani sticks horizontally. Squeeze a bit of Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise along the crab sticks. Now begin rolling the bamboo mat over the kani. Try to make the rolls tight. Slice 1-inch pieces from the log you just created. Repeat the process until you have used up all ingredients. Serve with Japanese soy sauce and wasabi on the side.

Getting perfect rolls can be difficult, but that’s part of the fun. Laugh and try again. If rolling the sushi is too troublesome, you can always make Kani Temaki (hand-shaped sushi cones). For variety and texture, you can also add cucumber slices, carrot strips, or avocado slices to the rolls. Make it fun and include foods your child enjoys, such as omelets or cheese slices.

Is It Safe to Feed Children Kani Sticks?

Crabsticks, cucumber, and mango strips rolled into a hand shaped cone

Kani stick or imitation crab may not be as rich in protein as real crab meat. However, it does contain carbs, some fat, and fiber. Depending on the manufacturer, some imitation crab sticks have omega-3 with added vitamins and minerals.

The main ingredient of kani is minced fish flesh. Readily available and convenient, crab sticks are a common component in many ingredients. As long as it is stored based on the manufacturer’s instructions, kani has a long shelf life.

Just like many processed foods, moderate consumption of crab sticks in salads, sandwiches, chowders, dips, spreads, and rolls are okay and safe for children and adults.

Allowing kids to explore new flavors teaches them to be better eaters. But here’s a tip: Don’t overdo it! To slowly introduce them to that umami taste, using Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise in place of traditional Japanese mayo — which might be too strong a taste for growing eaters — is a great option. Plus, it’s bound to make any ordinary dish even more extraordinary. 

More importantly, making Kani Sushi together as a family teaches the value of hard work and patience. After all, rolling sushi nice and neat does take some practice. Planning your next cookout with the kids? You might want to try making a pan of Sushi Bake for parties or this fun Sushi Sandwich.

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