Thai Crab Salad With Creamy Coconut-Lime Dressing Recipe

Thai Crab Salad
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Servings: 2 servings

Indulge your senses with this delicious Thai crab salad. Featuring a full spectrum of flavors and textures, this fantastic summer salad is fresh and thrilling for the palate and marries beautifully with a chilled white wine or crisp lager. A simple coconut milk dressing is tossed with crab meat and a selection of vegetables plus fresh coriander and chopped peanuts or cashews.

This is a flexible crab salad recipe that tastes great no matter how you prepare it. Canned as well as frozen prepared crab meat work just as well as freshly cooked crab (the canned variety was used for this recipe for ease of preparation).


  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili (chili flakes, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 cups cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 cup fresh coriander leaves (loose, lightly chopped)
  • 3 green onions (sliced thinly into matchstick-like pieces)
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • 1 cup prepared crab meat (canned, frozen, or freshly-cooked)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts or cashews (chopped)
  • Optional: 1 fresh red chili (de-seeded and minced)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Stir all dressing ingredients (coconut milk, lime juice, chili flakes, sugar, and fish sauce) together in a cup. Taste-test for sweet-sour balance, adding more sugar if too sour. Set aside.

  3. 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.

  4. Place in a salad bowl. Add all other vegetables, setting aside half of the fresh coriander.

  5. Add crab meat to the bowl. Give the dressing another stir, then drizzle over. Toss well.

  6. Add most of the chopped nuts and toss again.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.


  • 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 all good 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.

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