This refreshing salad features succulent crab meat tossed in a tangy nuoc cham dressing, with pomelo, fresh herbs, and crunchy fried garlic chips. Perfect for any occasion.

Luke Nguyen’s Spanner crab salad


1 pomelo, segmented and broken up into small pieces
12 perilla leaves, sliced
6 Vietnamese mint leaves, sliced
12 round mint leaves, sliced
1 long chilli, deseeded and diced
500g cooked spanner crab meat, picked through
1 tbsp fried garlic chips (see note)
1 tbsp fried red shallots (available from Asian grocers)
1 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts
2 tbsp garlic oil
2 cleaned cooked spanner crab shells
Rock salt, to serve

Nuoc cham 

60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce
60 ml (¼ cup) rice vinegar
2 tbsp white sugar
125 ml (½ cup) water
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red birds-eye chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice


For the nuoc cham, place the fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine.

Bring the mixture to just below boiling point, then set aside to cool.

Stir in the garlic, chilli and lime juice. Makes 1 cup.

In a large bowl, mix together the herbs, pomelo and chilli.

Add the crab meat, fried garlic and shallots, peanuts, garlic oil and 60 ml (¼ cup) nuoc cham.

Toss to combine well, then divide the salad between the 2 cleaned crab shells and serve on a bed of rock salt to keep them stable.

For the fried garlic chips, simply fry thinly sliced garlic cloves in a little vegetable oil until just golden. Drain on absorbent paper.
The nuoc cham will make more than you need but keeps well in the refrigerator for up 2 weeks.
The spanner crab can be substituted with cooked mud crab or blue swimmer crab meat.

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