[Recipe 2] CRAB FRITTERS with CUCUMBER SALAD
Udon noodle, spinach and sesame salad is one of our favourite light Summer dinners. The boys love slurping up the slippery noodles – my 4-year old describes this act as ‘food rushing into my face’. So cute. Chopsticks and a large jug of iced green tea (or iced brown Heineken) are the only table accoutrements you’ll need.
Reserve the specified portion of noodles and spinach, and some of the ponzu dressing, as planned-overs (see the ♦ orange diamonds within the recipe); and you can create fab Crab fritters with cucumber salad later in the week. These fritters are adored by my boys, especially when I refer to them as ‘crabby patties’ (if you’re a Spongebob fan – and who isn’t – you’ll know what I mean).
[Recipe 1] Udon noodle, spinach and sesame salad
Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals):
540g (just over 1 lb – the nearest pack size will be fine) dried udon noodles
150g (5 oz) baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 small continental cucumber, cut into spears
1 avocado, sliced
2 x 125g (4 oz) cans tuna slices in oil, drained (or 2 x 185g/6 oz cans tuna chunks in olive oil, drained, flaked)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Pink pickled ginger, chopped, to serve
Ponzu dressing (note: you’ll be reserving 3 tbs for the cucumber salad in recipe 2):
100ml (3½ fl oz) Japanese rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (30ml) soy sauce
1 tablespoon (15ml) lime juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Cook noodles in boiling water until tender (about ten minutes, or according to packet instructions). Add spinach to saucepan in last three minutes of boiling time. Drain. Refresh under cold water. Drain again.
♦ Reserve 2 cups (about 375g/¾ lb) cooked noodles and spinach for the crab fritters.
Meanwhile, make ponzu dressing. Place all ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake until combined.
♦ Reserve 3 tablespoons (45ml) ponzu dressing for the cucumber salad.
Place remaining noodles and spinach (about 1 kilo/2 lb) in a large bowl. Add remaining ponzu dressing and toss gently.
Divide noodles between four bowls. Arrange cucumber spears, avocado and tuna slices on top. Scatter with toasted sesame seeds and pickled ginger.
- Refrigerate and use Recipe 1 planned-overs within 3 days.
- You can easily vary the udon noodle salad toppings, although the toasted sesame seeds are a must! Lightly steamed asparagus is a lovely addition, as is leftover roasted sweet potato. I often replace the canned tuna slices with char-grilled (charbroiled) fresh tuna or salmon.
- Japanese rice wine vinegar and pickled ginger are readily available from large Supermarkets and Asian food stores.
- You can toast your own sesame seeds, or cheat and buy them pre-roasted from Asian food stores.
[Recipe 2] Crab fritters with cucumber salad
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
♦ 2 cups (about 375g/¾ lb) reserved cooked noodles and spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 x 170g (6 oz) cans crab meat, well drained (or 250g/½ lb fresh crab meat, chopped)
3 spring onions, green ends only, chopped
½ cup chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
¼ cup peanut oil for shallow frying
Chilli mayo, to serve
1 continental cucumber, very finely sliced
¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
¼ cup chopped coriander (coriander) leaves, extra
♦ 3 tablespoons (45ml) reserved ponzu dressing
Whisk eggs, fish sauce and chilli sauce together in a large bowl.
♦ Add reserved cooked noodles and spinach. Stir in breadcrumbs, crab meat, spring onions and coriander. Shape mixture into 10–12 fritters. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, if time permits.
Fry crab fritters in two batches in hot shallow oil, for 2–3 minutes each side, until golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
Meanwhile, make the salad by placing cucumber, chilli flakes and extra coriander in a bowl.
♦ Add reserved ponzu dressing. Toss to combine.
Serve crab fritters with chilli mayo and cucumber salad.
- Crab fritters are best eaten immediately.
- Chilli mayo is super easy to make and goes beautifully with these crab fritters. My 7-year old prepares this, while I’m preparing the fritters.
- Peanut oil is best for shallow and deep frying, because of its high smoke point (the ability to sustain high heat without smoking); however you can also use vegetable oil.
- My boys love their crab fritters in soft round rolls with lettuce, thinly sliced avocado and chilli mayo.