Plate of Squid Salad
Click to Enlarge

Squid Salad
  -   Yum Pla Muk
3 pounds  
1-1/4 hr  
This is one of the most famous Thai salads, said to be the signature salad of Bangkok. There's quite a bit of prep work, but it can be done well ahead. It's a durable salad, good for buffet parties, and can even be made completely a day ahead and refrigerated. This recipe will make 4 or 5 big dinner salads, quite a few more salad size servings.


Squid (1)
-- Vegie Mix
Lemon Grass (2)
Kafir Leaves (3)
Cucumber (4)
Onion, red
Grape Tomatoes
Mint Leaves
-- Dressing
Chili flake (5)
Lime Juice
Fish Sauce (6)
Oil (7)
-- Serving
Cabbage, white
Prep Squid   -   (20 min - exclusive of cleaning squid)
  1. Clean SQUID as required (see Note-1 ). Cut into 3/4 inch wide rings if small, or into 1-1/2 inch by 1/2 inch strips if large. If using tentacles, cut them into lengths of 1 to 1-1/2 inch lengths, depending on size.
  2. Bring plenty of water to a rolling boil in a pot into which you can lower a wire strainer. Place squid in the strainer (not too much at a time) and lower it into the rapidly boiling water for 10 seconds (small squid) to 18 seconds (large squid). Immediately refresh with cold running water. Don't overcook or the squid will be very tough. Drain and set aside. I using tentacles, cook them after all the rest is done.
Vegie Mix   -   (20 min)   (Mixing as you go).
  1. Strip the tough outer leaves from LEMON GRASS and cut off the hard root end. Smash the bottom 3 or 4 inches of the bulb with your kitchen mallet and cut crosswise with a razor sharp knife as thin as you possibly can.
  2. Roll KAFIR LEAVES as tightly as you can and slice them into the finest threads you can. Make a few cuts through the threads so they are not too long.
  3. Cut CUCUMBERS in half lengthwise. Slice diagonally about 3/16 inch thick.
  4. Quarter ONION lengthwise and slice thin crosswise.
  5. Cut GRAPE TOMATOES in half crosswise, or, if you have the larger Cherry Tomatoes, also cut the halves in half lengthwise.
  6. Pull MINT LEAVES from stems and chop coarse.
Dressing   -   (15 min)
  1. Peel SHALLOTS and chop fine. Crush GARLIC and chop fine. Mix.
  2. Squeeze LIME JUICE and stir in Sugar.
  3. In a small pan, heat Oil to about 350°F/175°C. Stir in Shallot mix and Chili Flake. Fry stirring until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in Lime Juice mix for another 30 seconds. Take off the heat and stir in Fish Sauce.
Serving   -   (15 min)
  1. Shred CABBAGE fine for use as a serving bed.
  2. Chop CILANTRO medium for Garnish.
  3. When ready to serve, lay a bed of Shreded Cabbage on plates or serving platter.
  4. Mix Squid with Dressing and tumble to coat well. Tumble in Vegie mix. Lay Salad over Cabbage beds, garnish with Cilantro (also, see Note-8).
  5. Serve cool, but not chilled.
  1. Squid:   The amount is for whole fresh squid, prepared per one of the instruction pages (depending on size) linked from our Squid page. If using cleaned frozen squid, you will need about 1-1/4 pounds.
  2. Lemon Grass:   You want a fairly small stalk here. For preparation details see our Lemon Grass page.
  3. Kaffir Lime Leaves:   These come 2 to a stem. See our Kaffir Lime page for details. If you don't have them, grate the zest of a lime (green part only) before you squeeze it for juice.
  4. Cucumbers: If at all possible, use small cucumbers that don't need to be skinned or seeded, such as Persian, Japanese or European. If you have only the standard waxed green blimps, peel them, seed them, cut lengthwise in quarters, then measure out the given weight.
  5. Chili flake   I use Indian Khandela or Reshampatti, which make this recipe decently spicy by Southern California standards, but scandalously mild by Thai standards. Use your own best judgement. For details see our Chilis Page.
  6. Fish Sauce:   This clear liquid is as essential to Southeast Asian cuisine as it was to Imperial Rome. For details see our Fish Sauce - Introduction page.
  7. Oil   Pure Olive Oil works well here but Virgin would be too non-Thai - or use Peanut, Rice Bran or similar oils.
  8. Buffet Service:   If you don't have room for a wide, shallow bowl, just mix the Cabbage and Cilantro into the salad.
  9. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
sgf_squid1 160809 bvt104   -
©Andrew Grygus - - Linking to and non-commercial use of this page is permitted.