Tamarind Crab, Avocado & Mango Noodle Salad with Coconut Sambal

From Ainsley’s Good Mood Food, ITV

Coconut sambal or Pol Sambal/Sambol is a traditional Sri Lankan coconut relish that’s used as a garnish or side-dish and I think the flavours work wonderfully with this fresh crab salad. It’s an easy, light summery dish that’s full of punchy flavour. You will have more sambol than you need, but it can be stored for a few days in the fridge and is a delicious accompaniment to curries, rice or try it just as a topping for roti or paratha bread.


To make the sambol, add the dried chilli to a pestle and mortar and bash until broken down. Add the sugar and grind. Add the coconut and continue bashing and muddling until well mixed and the coconut has taken on the colour of the chillies. Add the onion and bash again until you have a textured relish. Mix in plenty of lime juice and add a little salt to taste. Set aside.

Mix together the salad dressing ingredients and adjust the tamarind and honey according to taste. Set aside.

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain well, toss with a little of the dressing and tip into a large bowl to cool.

Fork through the cooled noodles to separate them. Add the spring onions and chilli and toss through. Gently toss through the mango, avocado and three quarters of the crab meat. Finish with the fresh herbs. Drizzle over some dressing and toss again.

Serve topped with the remaining crab, coconut sambol and lime zest.



  • For the Sambal
  • 2-3 dried red chillies or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 75g freshly grated coconut (or unsweetened desiccated coconut soaked with 2 tbsp water)
  • ½ small red onion or 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lime, for squeezing
  • sea salt
  • For the Dressing
  • 3 tbsp light olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2-3 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 4 cm fresh root ginger, grated
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 2-3 tsp honey
  • For the Crab Noodle Salad
  • 200g rice vermicelli noodles or soba noodles
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced into rings
  • 1 large mango, peeled, stoned and chopped
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, stoned and chopped
  • 200g fresh white crab meat
  • large handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint