Coconut crab watercress salad


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

Don’t do crab? Use cooked prawns or squid instead.


  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 small hot red chillies, finely chopped
  • 6 small (Thai) shallots, or 1 very small red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 stick lemongrass, trimmed and very finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or caster sugar
  • 1 small young ‘green’ coconut, soft flesh scooped out (keep the water) - optional
  • 100 ml canned coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 300 g cooked white crab meat
  • 1 long mild red chilli, deseeded and finely shredded
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 2 handfuls mixed mint and coriander leaves
  • 1 big bunch watercress


Mix together the garlic, hot chillies, 1 tbsp of the shallots, lemongrass, fish sauce and lemon juice with the sugar and 2 tbsp of the coconut water (if you’ve kept it - or use water), then beat in the coconut cream. Toss this dressing through the crab meat and leave to marinate, covered and refrigerated, for a good hour. Gently fold the crab mixture through the remaining ingredients, including the remaining shallots and the coconut flesh (if using), and serve.