Vietnamese Crab Salad with Rice Noodles

Serves 8–10 AS A STARTER

This is a really gorgeous and substantial salad and I absolutely adore these sweet, salty Southeast Asian flavours.


  • For the dressing:
    • 100g (4oz) sugar, or more to taste
    • 100ml (31/2fl oz) fish sauce (nam pla)
    • 100ml (31/2fl oz) lemon or lime juice (juice of 2 lemons or about 3 limes)
    • 2–3 small chillies, deseeded and
    • sliced finely
    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • For the salad:
    • 250g (9oz) thin or medium rice noodles,
    • 150g (5oz) peanuts
    • 450g (1lb) cooked crab meat
    • 1 large cucumber, chopped
    • 300g (11oz) radishes, trimmed and sliced
    • 4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander leaves and stalks


  1. To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients in a jug. Put the noodles in a bowl of boiling water for 5 minutes until they have softened. Drain and rinse. Meanwhile, toast the peanuts under a grill preheated to hot. Rub off the skins and roughly chop the nuts.
  2. In a bowl, toss together the dressing with the noodles, then add the crabmeat, chopped cucumber and sliced radishes. Sprinkle over the toasted peanuts and the coriander and serve.


  • Crunchy Vietnamese salad with rice noodles
  • Replace the crab with 100g (4oz) each of bean sprouts, cress and grated carrot.