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How to Make Spicy Thai Squid Salad Recipe – Yam Pla-Muek (with Pictures)

This is my family’s favorite spicy Thai squid salad recipe that is absolutely delicious. If you are wanting a salad that is tangy, sweet and with a bit of heat, this salad is absolutely for you. Check out my tips and tricks below on choosing the best squid as well as what you’ll need to get at your local Asian market to make this dish truly authentic.

This is a mouthwatering delicious and spicy Thai squid salad recipe. It is also a dish that is served in Laos with the same exact ingredients as well. This is known as Yam Pra-Muek in both Thai and Lao. 

This is a deeply flavored and truly refreshing squid salad that has a dose of sweetness, a splash of heat, and a zest of tanginess. It is the ultimate perfection of a dish that brings pretty much all of the flavors and various temperatures of the ingredients together in one dish.

All About Thai Squid Salad

What does Thai squid salad taste like?

Thai squid salad is a flavorful dish that combines the chewiness of the squid flesh along with the sweetness of the bell peppers that are also infused with the lime juice and chiles. It is a low carb dish that is served with the vegetables chilled, but the squid warm, providing not only a varying levels of flavor, but also of temperature, which makes this dish truly unique.

You love Thai salads, now pamper yourself with this famous Thai squid salad.

authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe

What’s the popularity of Spicy Squid Salad?

In the streets of Thailand and Laos, spicy squid salad is very popular in street carts and stalls. The squid can be found grilled, steamed, blanched, and even boiled. This ultimately light meal that is packed with fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs with a citrus dressing has slowly caught popularity in Thai restaurants in the western world.

The salad is often served as an hors d’oeuvres with sticky rice, cucumber rounds, or little egg plants. It is also delicious as filling inside a lettuce wrap. 

Other Names for Thai Spicy Squid Salad

As with other Thai and Lao cuisines, when this dish is translated into English, it often gets either the literal meaning of the dish or is renamed entirely. I’m going to share with you the monikers for this dish as it is often referred to at Thai restaurants:

  • Thai Calamari Salad Recipe
  • Thai Spicy Squid Salad
  • Lao Spicy Squid Salad
  • Spicy Squid with Chiles and Cilantro
  • Hot and Sour Squid Salad
  • Thai Squid Salad
  • Yum Pra-Muek
  • Yam Pla Muk
  • Yam Pra Muk
  • Yum Pla-Muek
  • Yum Talay

Yum is defined as combining hot and sour ingredients. Pra-muek (and it’s translated variations) means squid. Talay means the sea.

authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe

When Thai Spicy Squid Salad Is Made

This mouthwatering dish is often made in the blustery parts of summer accompanied with a cold beer. It is often served during family potlucks and the Lao New Year, which generally occurs in April. If you make it for your own potluck, you can be assured that this dish will be the star of the show and it will absolutely go quickly!

In western cultures, it is often made for an elegant dinner salad. Make it for an elegant dinner salad.

Is Thai Squid Salad Healthy?

This dish is light and refreshing and one serving of salad is generally under 200 calories with ZERO fat.

About This Spicy Thai Squid Salad Recipe

In this recipe, I’m going to be sharing how to make it using the blanched version. The blanched squid version allows the squid to be tender, yet not too chewy. I’m also going to share what specific ingredients you’ll need to pick up specifically at your local Asian grocer.

This recipe is VERY versatile and can be modified to suit your taste buds. If you want more sweetness, add more sugar. If you want more tanginess, add more lime. If you want more crunch, add more crushed peanuts. If you want a little bit more saltiness, add more fish sauce. If you want more vegetables, add some.

This recipe is somewhat similar to that of Lao larb gai due to all the flavor combinations that meld into a single dish.

This spicy squid salad recipe looks complicated to all of the ingredients, but it really does come together really quickly. As long as you have all of the ingredients measured and ready to go before preparing the squid, you should be set for making the salad once it’s ready to boil.

Special Stop at the Asian Grocer for Ingredients

As always, I’m going to share with you what you need to grab from your local Asian grocer in order to make this meal complete.

authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe

Squid

Squid can be found in the seafood aisle. And yes, you may want to plug your nose. Be sure to choose and use fresh squid. The key to this delicious salad is going to be the quick poaching of the squid. You want to cook it fast so that it will be tender, yet still crunchy.

authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe

You can also make this salad with 1 inch thick New York strip steak. See recipe notes below. 

Pickled Garlic

The pickled garlic comes in a jar, and you’ll want the ones where there is clearly a bulb attached because you are going to be slicing them. You will also be using some of the pickle juice in the dish as well.

authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe

Toasted Rice Powder

You can make your own toasted rice powder or purchase a package at your grocer.

Pac PeoW

This is an herb found in the refrigerated herb section. What you are going to look for is a triangular shaped herb that has a darker line that looks like an arrow like > in the middle of the leaf. It will provide this dish the ULTIMATE flavor of spiciness and deliciousness that doesn’t compare to mint or basil. While you are getting herbs here, you can also pick up green onions and cilantro, which I can guarantee you will be less expensive there than at your general grocer.authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe

Thai Chiles

Thai chiles and serrano peppers will add more heat. If you substitute jalapeños, it will give the dish a mild, crisp bite.

Palm Sugar (OPTIONAL)

Palm sugar just has a slightly different flavor, which I love for this recipe. If you don’t want to get it, you can absolutely used granulated sugar as well. 

Sticky Rice (Optional)

I would get some sticky rice because it would be absolutely delicious as an accompaniment. Check out my recipe by clicking the link.

Substitutes for Ingredients for Spicy Thai Salad Recipe

Any Seafood

If you don’t like squid, you can put any kind of seafood in this salad to make the yum talay version. I like this dish with only squid, but that’s my preference.

Vegetables

You are also free to choose any vegetable. The preference is using crunchy vegetables because it provides a contrasting texture to the squid. I also avoid using green bell peppers because I find that it overpowers the flavor of the yellow and red peppers.

Spices

You can adjust the amount of red pepper to suit your personal spicy gauge/meter.

How to Make Spicy Thai Squid Salad Recipe (Simple & Authentic Recipe)

I’m sharing with you my family’s authentic spicy Thai squid salad that I am sure YOUR family will absolutely love. It is my American born children’s FAVORITE dish (besides khao poon).

Ingredients for Spicy Thai Squid Salad

  • 2 squids
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced and chilled
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced and chilled
  • 1 sweet white onion, sliced
  • 3 pickled garlic bulbs, sliced
  • 3 Thai chilies, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of pac peow, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted rice powder
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of reserved pickled garlic juice
  • 2 tablespoon of roasted peanuts, crushed

Optional

  • 2 cups of sticky rice, prepared

Check out my post on my FAVORITE Asian ingredient food brands for some of my most common pantry items like fish sauce, soy sauce, and padaek.

Instructions for Spicy Thai SQuid Salad

  1. Prepare the bell peppers and onions by slicing thinly. Add the bell peppers to an ice cold water bath while preparing other ingredients.authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe
  2. Slice the pickled garlic cloves and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the pickled garlic juice that was part of the jar.
  3. Chop up the chilies, pac peow, cilantro, and green onions. Set aside.authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe
  4. Score both squids by making narrow slices through the squid lengthways, careful not to cut all the way through. Turn the squid and score again to make small diamond shapes. This will allow the strips to curl up with a beautiful presentation.authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe
  5. Cut the scored squid into bite size pieces, about 1 inch in length. authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe
  6. Next, you’ll want to blanch the squid. Put the squid in a heat safe bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Ladle in the hot water from the pot to the heat safe bowl, and allow the squid to be blanched for about 30 seconds. authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe
  7. Drain the squid, and repeat this process 2-3 times until the squid is cooked through. This method allows you to not overcook the squid. Overcooking the squid will turn it rubbery. authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe
  8. Once the squid is cooked, add in the palm sugar, toasted rice powder, fish sauce, reserved pickled garlic juice, and lime juice. Stir it up.authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe
  9. Add in the drained bell peppers, onion, and the rest of the herbs along with the crushed peanuts.authentic thai spicy squid salad recipeauthentic thai spicy squid salad recipe
  10. For presentation, you can place the salad on a dish and surround with lots of green vegetables and herbs, adding the Thai chiles on top for a beautiful presentation of the dish.authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe

The result should be an aromatic, citric, spicy, and sweet Thai squid salad that will be bursting with a ton of flavor that will be pretty much gone after it’s set out.

authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe

Recipe Notes

You can also make this salad with 1 inch thick New York strip steak. Cook the steak on a cast-iron skillet for about 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Remove and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes and allow to sit. Cut into thin, narrow strips and mix the other ingredients together.

How to Serve Spicy Thai Squid Salad

The longer the squid marinates the better the flavors will penetrate. It’s often delicious after mixed and sitting in the fridge for about 1 hour so that it has time to meld the flavors and chill.  The salad will keep for a day or two, but like any other seafood dish, it should be consumed quickly. 

authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe

Summary

This memorable spicy Thai squid salad recipe will tantalize everyone’s taste buds. The combination of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and the 5th sense umami (which means savory) makes this one special seafood salad that everyone will be talking about.

Thai spicy squid salad has a similar taste to papaya salad and minced meat salad, and like those dishes, they make you fall in love with Thai and Lao food all over again due to the perfect harmony and balance of all the different flavors.

More Easy Thai Recipes You’ll Love

If you love this spicy Thai squid recipe as much as our family does, please write a five star review and help me share on Facebook and Pinterest!

authentic thai spicy squid salad recipe

Authentic Spicy Thai Squid Salad Recipe - Yam Pla-Muek

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes

Deliciously easy Thai spicy squid salad recipe that combines the flavor of sweet, spicy, bitter, and savory into one dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 squids
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced and chilled
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced and chilled
  • 1 sweet white onion, sliced
  • 3 pickled garlic bulbs, sliced
  • 3 Thai chilies, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of pac peow, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted rice powder
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of reserved pickled garlic juice
  • 2 tablespoon of roasted peanuts, crushed

Instructions

  1. Prepare the bell peppers and onions by slicing thinly. Add the bell peppers to an ice cold water bath while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Slice the pickled garlic cloves and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the pickled garlic juice that was part of the jar.
  3. Chop up the chilies, pac peow, cilantro, and green onions. Set aside.
  4. Score both squids by making narrow slices through the squid lengthways, careful not to cut all the way through. Turn the squid and score again to make small diamond shapes. This will allow the strips to curl up with a beautiful presentation.
  5. Cut the scored squid into bite size pieces, about 1 inch in length. 
  6. Next, you'll want to blanch the squid. Put the squid in a heat safe bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Ladle in the hot water from the pot to the heat safe bowl, and allow the squid to be blanched for about 30 seconds. Drain the squid, and repeat this process 2-3 times until the squid is cooked through. This method allows you to not overcook the squid. Overcooking the squid will turn it rubbery. 
  7. Once the squid is cooked, add in the palm sugar, toasted rice powder, fish sauce, reserved pickled garlic juice, and lime juice. Stir it up.
  8. Add in the drained bell peppers, onion, and the rest of the herbs along with the crushed peanuts.
  9. For presentation, you can place the salad on a dish and surround with lots of green vegetables and herbs, adding the Thai chiles on top for a beautiful presentation of the dish.

Notes

You can also make this salad with 1 inch thick New York strip steak. Cook the steak on a cast-iron skillet for about 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Remove and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes and allow to sit. Cut into thin, narrow strips and mix the other ingredients together.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 120Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 772mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 5g
Thai spicy squid salad recipe

Thai spicy squid salad plate

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