This is a lovely, light and bright Asian-style salad, best served on a warm day. I love the simple, clean flavor of the Vietnamese style sauce. However, I’ve also provided an option to additionally include a richer peanut sauce as an accompaniment. As the story goes, one night my family and I rolled fresh spring rolls, which we casually enjoyed as an appetizer around our kitchen island before moving to the dinner table for our main course. About halfway through dinner, my husband excused himself and came back with the remaining peanut dipping sauce which had been served with the spring rolls, and proceeded to dollop it all over his salad. He can’t get enough of that sauce, and in adding it to the crab and noodle salad, loved the richness it imparts. I still prefer the salad in its unadulterated form, however, so long as you’re comfortable with the crab not shining through as much, I have to say it is a different version of delicious. My suggestion is to make and serve the peanut sauce as an accompaniment, passing it at the table so as to let everyone choose their own best version of this salad.
Crab & Rice Noodle Salad with Lime, Herbs and Peanuts
- 8 ounces rice noodles
- 8 ounces fresh crab meat
- 1 cup julienned cucumber
- 1 cup julienned green papaya
- ½ cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted peanuts
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 small chili such as jalapeno or serrano, seeded and chopped, optional
Optional Peanut sauce:
- ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons water
- Cook the rice noodles according to package directions and drain well. Place them on a serving platter and scatter the cucumber, papaya, herbs and crab evenly over top. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the sauces.
- In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. Add in the chili if using.
- In a separate small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce. Taste for seasoning, and add a pinch of salt if necessary. You can also add more water if it is too thick – different peanut butters will have different consistencies. You want the sauce to be able to dollop off the spoon, not be too thick.
- Pour the lime juice sauce over the salad, top with the peanuts and serve with the optional peanut sauce.