• Spanner crab salad (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

This light salad gets a zing of citrus from pomelo, and every bite is packed with flavour from fresh Vietnamese herbs. 






Skill level

Average: 1.1 (293 votes)


  • 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
  • 500 g 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

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


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.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Tammi Kwok. 

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