Nuoc cham is a Vietnamese dipping sauce that also makes an incredible salad dressing. It packs quite a kick, which can be counteracted if you serve it alongside some raw, shredded white cabbage.
FOR THE SALAD
100g fine rice noodles
150g cooked white crabmeat
½ red onion, very finely sliced
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2 lime leaves, very finely sliced
½ red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
½ cucumber, deseeded and finely diced
FOR THE NUOC CHAM
1 small red chilli
1 garlic clove
1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed
juice 2 limes
40ml rice vinegar
Soak the noodles in a bowl of boiling water for 5 mins or until soft. Drain and set aside.
Put the crabmeat in a bowl with the remaining salad ingredients, gently mix together and season.
To make the nuoc cham, put the chilli, garlic and lemongrass in a small food processor and blend together. Add the lime juice and vinegar, and blend to a smooth paste. Add a couple of teaspoons of water if the paste appears too thick. Mix about a third of the nuoc cham into the noodles.
Fold half the crab mixture into the noodles. Using a large fork, wrap half the noodles around the fork and place into a serving bowl to create a ‘nest’. Repeat with the remainder and place in a second bowl. Spoon over more nuoc cham and top each portion with the remaining crab mixture and any dressing.