Thai Salad Recipes

Authentic Thai salad recipes seldom use uncooked vegetables or fruit as the primary ingredients. Instead, minced meat, seafood or noodles dominate each recipe. The only thing in common with Western-style salads is the use of a souring ingredient – in Thailand that is invariably lime juice.  Preparation and serving of Thai salads features fresh herbs and other greens. In Thailand, salads are not served as entrées, they are eaten as a main dishes in the traditional Thai buffet-style meal.

Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

thai salad recipe Som Tam

2-1/2 cups shredded green papaya
4 medium red and green serrano chilies (or to taste)
2 large cloves garlic, skinned
1 cup green or string beans, cut 1″ pieces
6 cherry tomatoes, cut each in half
2 tsp ground peanuts (optional)
2 tbsp small dried shrimps
Cabbage and Iceberg lettuce leaves


5 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp finely ground dried shrimps

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.


Using a mortar and pestle, pound chilies and garlic to coarse texture. Add papaya, green beans, tomatoes and pound 1-2 minutes longer, mixing with a spoon while pounding. Add dried shrimps, peanuts, dressing and mix well. Serve immediately with cabbage and lettuce leaves. Goes well with Thai style BBQ chicken and steamed sticky rice.
Makes about 4-1/2 cups of salad, about 4 servings.

Thai Prawn Salad (Pla Gung)

This recipe can also be made with squid or scallops, or any combination of prawns, squid and scallops. If using squid, use only the body tube. Slit the body and press flat, score diagonally, and cut into 2 inch squares.


1 lb Prawn tails
3 cups Water 2 tbsp Lemon grass chop coarse
1 tbsp Lime leaves chop coarse
1 tbsp Coriander leaves chop coarse

2 tbsp Lime juice
2 tsp Palm sugar
1 tsp Garlic chop fine
1 tsp Ginger chop fine
1/2 tsp Black pepper ground

1/2 cup Green onions sliced
1/2 cup Mint leaves


Bring water to a boil and add lemon grass, lime leaves and coriander. Boil for five minutes.

Drop in prawns and cook 1 minute. Remove and rinse under cold water.

Combine lime juice, palm sugar, garlic, ginger and black pepper in a bowl. Mix to dissolve sugar.

Pour dressing over prawns and toss to coat. Add green onions and mint leaves, toss to mix.

Yield – 3 cups

Thai Yam Yai Salad


Chinese lettuce (or other broad leafed veggie) to form a base for the salad bowl.
½ cup of onion, sliced
½ cup of tomato wedges
½ cup of cucumber, sliced
½ cup prik chi fa (Thai jalapenos), julienned
½ cup of broccoli florets, blanched
½ cup of bean sprouts


Line a serving bowl with the lettuce leaves, then toss the other ingredients and place on the lettuce, garnish with cilantro/coriander leaves, lime leaves, thinly sliced shallots, and julienned spring onions.

Dressing Ingredients

½ cup of lime juice
¼ cup of peanuts
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons [rice] vinegar or nam makham piag (tamarind juice)
2 tablespoons nam tan paep (palm sugar)
1 tablespoon prik ki nu daeng haeng (dried red chilis), ground
1 tablespoon khao koor (toasted rice)


In a dry skillet or wok, toast the peanuts until light golden brown, allow to cool and crumble (a few sharp blows with the flat of a cleaver should suffice, and avoid turning them into peanut butter, as the use of a food processor is inclined to).

Toast 2 tablespoons of uncooked long grain rice (either white or brown, to taste), and then when cool, grind to a coarse powder (khao koor).

Combine the ingredients to form the dressing, and place in a small bowl.


Thai salads are not served ‘dressed’, this being left to the diners. If available you could also add a few of the different Thai dips (nam prik kiga, nam prik kapi are suitable for vegetables, and can be adapted to vegetarian/vegan life styles without serious loss of authenticity).

Thai Sweet & Sour Tofu Salad Recipe

  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 500 g/1lb tofu (bean curd),cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, cut into julienne strips
  • 1 stick celery, sliced
  • 2 small red (bell) peppers, cored, seeded and sliced
  • 250 g/8oz mangetout (snow peas),trimmed and halved
  • 125 g/4oz broccoli, trimmed and divided into florets
  • 125g/4oz thin green beans, halved
  • 2tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1tbsp fish sauce
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 1tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tbsp chili sauce
  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 1tbsp white vinegar
  • pinch of ground star anise
  • 1tsp cornflour
  • 300ml cups water

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan or wok until hot. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a few seconds.

Add the tofu in batches and stir-fry over a gentle heat, until golden on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, red pepper, mangetout, broccoli and green beans to the pan and stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes or until tender-crisp.

Add the oyster sauce, tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, tomato puree, soy sauce, chili sauce, sugar, vinegar and star anise, mixing well to blend. Stir-fry for a further 2 minutes.

Mix the cornflour with the water and add to the pan with the fried tofu. Stir-fry gently until the sauce boils and thickens slightly.
I’d serve this Asian salad recipes immediately, on warm rice.

Thai/Farang Salad

Adapted from Moui’s Kitchen


  • 8 dragon shrimp (fresh water shrimp, 2-3 to the pound)
  • 1 pound of shrimp (16-20 to the pound)
  • 1 pound of ham
  • ¼ pound of bologna, sliced
  • ¼ pound of sliced roast pork
  • ¼ pound of shaved beef
  • ¼ pound cooked chicken, sliced
  • cup nam pla (fish sauce)
  • cup nam manao (lime juice)
  • cup ton hom (green/spring onions)
  • cup hom daeng (shallots/purple onions), thinly sliced
  • ½ cup prik ki nu (bird’s-eye chilies, mixed red and green), sliced
  • 12 tablespoons khing (ginger), minced
  • 12 tablespoons bai chi (coriander/cilantro including the roots), chopped
  • 6 tablespoons kratiem (garlic), minced
  • 4 tablespoons nam si-ew wan (sweet dark soy sauce, or use oyster soy)
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons chili oil
  • 2 tablespoons khao koor (see method)


First prepare the khao Koor – place about 5 tablespoons of uncooked long grain whit rice in a wok over medium heat, and toast gently until light brown.Allow to cool and then grind to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle, or spice grinder.

Next cook the shrimp: the jumbo shrimp should be grilled or barbecued until pink. To avoid burning this is best done with the heads and carapaces still on.Thais eat almost the whole shrimp (including some of the shell), so would serve them like this. You may prepare to remove the head and legs, shell (except the tail), and de-vein them. Set them aside. The smaller shrimp are best dry-toasted in a wok over medium heat, tossing continuously to avoid burning until pink.Again they are best de-headed, shelled and cleaned after cooking.

Slice the cooked meat into half inch strips, and then cut any long piecesinto smaller bite sized pieces. Tease the chicken apart with the tines of a fork.

Cut the white bulbs from the spring onion, and then slice the green parts thinly.

Place the chicken, sliced meat, and small shrimp in a large bowl. In  bowl combine the remaining ingredients and then pour them over the mixed meats and shrimp. Toss to thoroughly coat and leave to stand for at least an hour before serving.

Serving & Storage

Place the tossed ingredients on a large serving platter, surround with a circle of alternating tomato segments and slices of cucumber, and place the jumbo shrimp like the spokes of a wheel, heads innermost then garnish with coriander/cilantro and mint leaves.

Serve with steamed rice.

serves 12/16

Will keep 3/4 days in a refrigerator.

Thai Yum Pla Duk Fu Recipe

Crispy Catfish Salad with Green Mango Salad

(also spelt as: Yum Pla Dook Foo)


  •  1 – 2 catfish  – weight 400-500 grams
  •  1/4 cup Shallot, sliced
  •  1 Mango, sliced thinly (shredded or juliened)
  • 3 tablespoons Fish sauce
  •  4 tablespoons Lime juice
  •  1 tablespoon Sugar
  •  5-10 Chilies, chopped
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs
  •  1/4 cup fried cashew nuts, or peanut
  • Coriander leaves (as a garnish)


  1. Steam the fish in large covered steamer until cooked. Allow to  cool and then use fork to remove the meat from the bones.
  2. Mix in 2 cups of breadcrumbs
  3. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Wait until hot then fry the fluffed mixture like a large omelette until golden. Remove and drain. Transfer to a serving plate onto a bed of fresh lettuce leaves.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, add fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, chilies, shallots and mango. Stir until all ingredients mixed well. You can adjust the taste according to your preference, but the objective is a balance of sour, spicy and salty, with a hint of sweetness.
  5. Spread the salad over the fried fish cake
  6. Before serving, sprinkle fried cashew nuts and coriander leaves on top of crispy fish.

Serves 2

Thai salad recipes are invariably a taste sensation – a balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy!

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