Tangy Crab Salad

Crabmeat is light, subtle in taste and always popular. This recipe enhances the virtues of the crab in a really refreshing and delicious way.

Much of the work can be done ahead of time; the crabmeat should be tossed with the tasty Thai dressing at the last minute. Such a salad is ideal as a light lunch or as a delectable starter for any meal. And no leftovers here. A large 1.4kg (3 lb) crab will yield about 350g (12 oz) picked crabmeat.


  • 1.4 kg (3 lb) live or freshly cooked crab in the shell
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass


  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar


  • 2 small fresh red or green Thai chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely sliced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves


To dispatch and cook a live crab, drop it in a large pot of salted boiling water for 8–10 minutes, depending on size. Remove and drain.

Remove the tail-flap, stomach sac and feathery gills from the crab. Using a heavy knife or cleaver, cut the crab, shell included, into large pieces. When the crab (if freshly cooked) is cool enough to handle, remove all the edible flesh and put into a large serving bowl.

Peel away the tough outer layers of the lemongrass and chop the tough stems off. With the large sharp knife or cleaver, cut the lemongrass into thin slices. Add this to the crab in the bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.

Just before serving, add the chillies and shallots to the crab and pour in the dressing. Toss well. Add the mint leaves and coriander, toss again and serve at once.