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Pla Goong Salad (Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad Recipe)

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Pla goong salad, loaded with fresh herbs and spices tossed with the best Thai dressing you’ll ever taste. This spicy Thai shrimp salad recipe comes together in 15 minutes, max. Perfect for a nutritious, low-kcal lunch or dinner!

Pla goong, spicy Thai shrimp salad, served in a wooden dish with lettuce.

Don’t miss out on my other, equally delicious easy shrimp salad recipes: spicy shrimp larb recipe and authentic Thai mango salad.

What is pla goong salad

Pla goong salad, or pla kung, is a classic Thai seafood salad made with shrimp mixed with lemongrass, mint, and chili. Everything is tossed in a flavor-balanced tangy lime, spicy chili paste, and savory fish sauce dressing.

Spicy Thai shrimp salad recipe

This Thai salad is so, so easy to whip up and loaded with the most perfect Thai flavors – tangy, spicy as you like it, and loaded with umami goodness.

It’s the kind of dish just you just can’t stop eating.

Close-up of a hand picking up a seasoned shrimp from a Thai pla goong salad, showcasing the lemongrass and chili dressing.

The shrimp is cooked just right, so juicy and tender. Paired with the irresistible crunch from fresh herbs and the seriously good Thai shrimp salad dressing, you’ll want to have it on repeat.

This is Thai restaurant quality, made so easily right in your own kitchen.

And at home, you’re in control of the spice! Turn it up or tone it down a notch, you’re the chef today.

Pla kung salad with fresh herbs, shrimp, shallots, and chili slices, served with lettuce on a wooden plate.

The best part is definitely how easy this is. Cook the shrimp, toss it all in, and there it is – a dish that’s as stunning to look at as it is delicious.

Why try this recipe

  • Irresistible spicy Thai salad dressing: The dressing is so good, you could literally toss it with anything! Dress up your favorite greens or whatever you have in your fridge.
  • Authentic Thai shrimp salad recipe: This salad is full of authentic Thai flavors. Every spoonful is a perfect balance of flavors, and that’s what Thai cuisine is all about.
  • Customize it to your taste: This recipe is super easy to customize. Add more chilies, mix in your favorite veggies, or add some roasted peanuts for a nutty crunch.
  • Healthy and nutritious: It’s not just tasty, it’s a healthy choice too! This pla goong recipe is packed with the freshest ingredients and lean shrimp, it’s a guilt-free, low-fat meal that won’t disappoint.
  • So easy and quick: You’ll have a delicious meal in no time, perfect for lazy or busy weeknights.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Top-view of ingredients for pla goong salad: shrimp, garlic, chilies, shallots, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coriander, chili paste, chili flakes, fish sauce, lime, and MSG.
  • Shrimp – Opt for black tiger shrimp, which are usually larger in size than other types of shrimp. Shrimp is perfect for this salad, but feel free to customize with more seafood like squid.
  • Garlic – A pounded paste of garlic and chilies is the base of many Thai salads. Garlic enhances the overall flavors, adding depth and a pungent flavor.
  • Chilies – Adjust the mount of bird’s eye chilies or Thai Jinda chilies in the salad dressing to suit your taste. For a mild salad, opt for less fiery chilies.
  • Shallots – Shallots bring a mild, sweet flavor and a crisp texture. Not substitutable for onion, as the flavor of onions is too strong for this dish.
  • Lemongrass – Lemongrass is a staple in Thai cooking, adding a citrusy aroma and lemony flavor to many of our dishes.
  • Kaffir lime leaves – If you can’t get your hands on fresh kaffir leaves, you can find them dried or frozen at Asian grocery stores.
  • Coriander – Used in everything from spicy salads to garnishing, coriander adds a touch of green and herbal notes to many Southeast Asian dishes.
  • Chili paste – For the most authentic taste, I recommend using my nam prik pao recipe. Find a quality store-bought version at Asian markets or supermarkets if you’re short on time.
  • Chili flakes – You can make your own Thai chili flakes or get them at supermarkets. Adjust the quantity to adjust the heat in your dishes.
  • Fish sauce – Fish sauce is umami-rich, adding a savory, salty depth to dishes.
  • Lime – Lime adds the tangy flavors to the dressing.
  • MSG – Used as a flavor enhancer, MSG is widely used in Laos and Thailand for bringing out the best of flavors in our dishes.

Cooking instructions

Close-up of shrimp boiling in a pot.

1. Cook the shrimp: Clean the shrimp, optionally leaving the tails on. Boil water in a pot and add the shrimp, cook until done.

A large mixing bowl with shrimp tossed in a spicy Thai dressing.

2. Toss with the dressing: Transfer shrimp to a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine with fish sauce, lime, MSG, chili paste, and chili flakes.

Pla goong salad in a large mixing bowl, ready to serve.

3. Add herbs and serve: Toss the salad with the remaining ingredients: minced garlic, chopped chilies, sliced shallots, chopped lemongrass, torn kaffir lime leaves, and coriander. Serve immediately.

Kitchen tools

  • Wok with spatula or large frying pan
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups

How to serve

Serve this spicy Thai shrimp salad on its own for a quick lunch or easy dinner, or as a tasty side.

Garnish with extra herbs, a sprinkle of chili flakes, and a wedge of lime.

How to store

To keep your pla goong fresh, store the leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator. It’ll stay fresh for up to 1–2 days.

However, I recommend eating everything in one go, as the herbs and shrimp will soak up the dressing over time.

To make this ahead of time, whip up the dressing in advance, prepare the herbs and shrimp, and toss when you’re ready.

Frequently asked questions

Is this salad spicy?

This recipe is medium-spicy. You can easily adjust the heat by using more or less chilies and chili flakes.

Is this salad a complete meal?

This recipe makes a light meal. You can make it a filling meal by adding a side of rice or rice noodles.

More Thai salad recipes you’ll love

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Pla Goong Salad (Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad Recipe)

Pla goong, spicy Thai shrimp salad, served in a wooden dish with lettuce.
Pla goong, spicy Thai shrimp salad, is a mix of juicy shrimp, crisp herbs, and a flavorful, i. Serve on its own or with rice.
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Salad
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 10 shrimp black tiger shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG optional
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 chilies to taste
  • 1.4 ounce shallots choppped
  • 0.5 ounces lemongrass chopped
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves tear the leaves
  • 0.35 ounces coriander

Instructions

  • Clean the shrimp, optionally leaving the tails on. Boil water in a pot and add the shrimp, cook until done.
  • Transfer shrimp to a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine with fish sauce, lime, MSG, chili paste, and chili flakes.
  • Toss the salad with the remaining ingredients: minced garlic, chopped chilies, sliced shallots, chopped lemongrass, torn kaffir lime leaves, and coriander. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Adjust the spiciness to suit your taste.

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