Betel leaves don't actually come from the Betel nut tree, but from a vine that grows around the tree. If you can’t get hold of betel leaves you could use lettuce, large shiso leaves or even large spinach leaves.


  • 150g spanner crab meat

  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and sliced

  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced finely

  • 1 large bunch coriander leaves, chopped roughly

  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced

  • 4 mint leaves, sliced finely

  • 4cm (2in) piece lemongrass,

  • white part only, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon crispy fried shallots

  • 2 tablespoons galangal paste

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • pinch chilli powder

  • 10 betel leaves

  • 1 tablespoon salmon or trout roe


  • 1.

    Combine all ingredients, except the betel leaves and roe in a large bowl.

  • 2.

    Spoon the mixture onto the betel leaves and top with the roe.


Extract from the book The Red Spice Road Cookbook, RRP $49.95. © John McLeay 2010

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