Thai Crab Salad (with Creamy Coconut-Lime Dressing)

Thai Crab Salad
Thai Crab Salad - Indulge Your Senses!. D.Schmidt for About.com
    25 mins
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Indulge your senses with this delicious Thai crab salad.  Featuring a full-spectrum of flavors and textures, this summer salad is fresh and thrilling for the palate.  A simple coconut milk dressing is tossed up with crab meat and a selection of vegetables plus fresh coriander and chopped peanuts or cashews. This is a very flexible crab salad recipe that tastes great no matter how you toss it. Canned as well as frozen prepared crab meat work just as well as freshly cooked crab (I used the canned variety for ease of preparation).  A fantastic summer salad that marries beautifully with a chilled white wine or crisp lager.  Enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup prepared crab meat, canned, frozen, or freshly-cooked
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 loose cup fresh coriander leaves, lightly chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly into matchstick-like pieces
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • optional for those who like it spicy: 1 fresh red chili, de-seeded and minced
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts OR cashews, chopped
  • DRESSING:
  • 1/2 cup good-quality coconut milk (not lite)
  • 1+1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/8 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili (chili flakes), to taste
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce (available in the Asian aisle, OR in Asian/Chinese food stores)

How to Make It

  1. Stir all 'DRESSING' ingredients together in a cup.  Taste-test for sweet-sour balance, adding more sugar if too sour.  Set aside.
  2. Holding the cabbage firm on a cutting board, cut large round slices along one side as thinly as you can.  After the cabbage falls to the cutting board, slice it to create thin strands.  Place in a salad bowl.  Add all other vegetables, holding back half of the fresh coriander.
  1. Add crab meat to the bowl. Give the dressing another stir, then drizzle over.  Toss well.
  2. Add most of the chopped nuts and toss again.
  3. Taste-test the salad.  For a deeper, richer or saltier taste, add more fish sauce.  If the salad tastes too salty or sweet, add more lime juice.  More chili can be added for a spicier salad.
  4. Portion out onto plates or serving bowls.  Top with reserved nuts and coriander, and serve immediately (at room temperature) or place in the refrigerator and serve cold later. ENJOY!

 

Tips for Buying Crab:

Not all crab is caught legally or in a sea-friendly manner.  Check the label to see where the crab is coming from.  Dungeness crab from the west coast of North America, frozen snow and king crab from Alaskan waters and blue crabs from the U.S. East Coast are okay options. One exception is king crab from European waters, where stocks are dwindling. If Russia or China/Asia is the country of origin on a package of frozen king crab, it's best to buy something else.