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Thai Grilled Squid Recipe (Pla Muek Yang)

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This Thai grilled squid recipe, or pla muek yang, is both easy to make and delicious. It’s marinated perfectly and served with nam jim seafood, a traditional Thai dipping sauce that’s great with seafood.

Thai grilled squid drizzled with sauce.

I absolutely love fresh seafood, and this BBQ squid is just perfect for any occasion. And when I’m craving something light and refreshing, I turn to Thai calamari and a healthy yum pla muk salad.

What is pla muek yang

Pla muek yang, or Thai grilled squid, is a popular street food delicacy in Thailand. Fresh squid is marinated with aromatic herbs and spices, grilled over charcoal, and then served with a spicy dipping sauce.

Thai grilled squid

Grilled Thai squid isn’t my everyday meal, but it’s so delicious and full of those smoky and bold flavors that you love.

The best thing about this recipe is the easy yet delicious marinade. It works with any kind of squid, even baby squid.

Close-up of Thai grilled squid.

Just dunk your grilled seafood in the incredible sauce included in this recipe. It’s spicy and aromatic and transforms anything into something special.

Sauce for grilled squid

There’s nothing that pairs with grilled squid like my favorite sauce: nam jim seafood. It’s like how chicken pad Thai just isn’t the same without peanuts.

Thai BBQ squid demands a good dipping sauce, and making your own spicy sauce is easy. You’ll need just a few ingredients: fish sauce, lime, sugar, coriander, mint, chilies, and garlic.

Hand dipping grilled squid in a spicy sauce.

I’ve got two variations you can try: a fresh and tangy Thai green chili sauce, or a brown nam jim seafood enriched with peanuts.

In this recipe, I’ll show you how to make the green chili version. It’s my favorite pick for any seafood dish.

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.


Ingredients for grilled squid recipe: squid, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and turmeric powder.

Grilled squid

  • Squid – If you can, go for whole, market-fresh squid.
  • Dark soy sauce – This thick, dark sauce adds a sweet and savory depth, perfect for giving your squid that irresistible glaze.
  • Light soy sauce – A staple in Thai cuisine for adding a salty taste to dishes.
  • Turmeric powder – Brings an orange color and gives the squid a hint of earthy bitterness. You can find this at most Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.

Seafood dipping sauce

  • Coriander, mint – Adds a fresh, herbal flavor.
  • Green chilies – Add as many or as few green chilies as you like to make it just the right kind of spicy for you.
  • White sugar – Helps balance out the spicy and salty flavors.
  • Fish sauce – A staple in Thai cooking that gives the dip a salty, umami-rich taste.
  • Garlic – Makes the sauce even better by adding aroma and a pungent note.
  • Lime – Finish with a squeeze of lime for a fresh, tangy flavor.

Short recipe video

How to grill squid

Marinated squid in a clay pot.

Step 1: Combine dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and turmeric powder in a large bowl. Coat each piece of squid evenly with the marinade, then let them rest for 30 minutes.

Step 2: As the squid marinates, you can light your charcoal to get it ready for grilling.

Grilled squid sauce prepared in mortar.

Step 3: Meanwhile, we’ll make the dipping sauce. Crush chilies and garlic with a mortar and pestle. Then, add coriander and mint, and complete the sauce by mixing in fish sauce, white sugar, and lime juice.

Step 4: When your charcoal is hot, lightly coat the grill with oil using a brush.

Grilling squid over charcoal.

Step 5: Place the marinated squid on the grill over high heat. Cook for 2–3 minutes on each side. Look for the edges to crisp and char slightly, and for the squid to turn opaque, indicating it’s cooked through. Make shallow cuts on the squid’s surface for added visual appeal and even grilling.

Kitchenware

  • Mortar and pestle or food processor for making the sauce
  • Charcoal grill or grilling pan with tongs
  • Cutting board and a sharp knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Mixing bowl for marinating
  • Brush for oiling your grill

Thai squid recipe tips

Avoid rubbery squid: Grill over high heat for 2–3 minutes each side to avoid it becoming tough and rubbery.

Oil your grill: Don’t forget to lightly oil your grill to keep the squid from sticking.

Clean squid: Clean the squid thoroughly and rinse with cold water.

Sauce first: Make your sauce before you start grilling. You can prepare it ahead and chill it in the fridge.

Thai BBQ squid serving suggestions

You can serve grilled squid with jasmine rice or a fresh Thai seafood salad like pla goong. I like serving it alongside other Thai BBQ meats like moo yang and crying tiger steak. A cold beer with grilled food is always a good idea! Don’t forget your sauce.

How to store

Let your leftovers cool to room temperature and keep them fresh by storing them in an airtight container in your fridge. It’ll stay fresh for up to 2 days.

But, honestly, it’s best enjoyed fresh off the grill. Reheated squid can easily turn rubbery.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use a grilling pan to make grilled squid?

Yes, you can use a grilling pan for that perfect char on your squid.

How can I tell if squid is cooked through?

Squid is cooked when it turns opaque and has a slight firmness to the touch. It doesn’t take long for squid to fully cook through, if needed you can set a timer when cooking squid.

Authentic Thai seafood recipes

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Thai Grilled Squid Recipe (Pla Muek Yang)

Thai grilled squid drizzled with sauce.
Authentic Thai grilled squid recipe, pla muek yang, with the most delicious dipping sauce ever.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 4 people

Ingredients

GRILLED SQUID

  • 35 ounces squid
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

DIPPING SAUCE

  • a handful of green chilies add to taste
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • a small handful of coriander
  • a small handful of mint
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic

Instructions

  • Combine dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and turmeric powder in a large bowl. Coat each piece of squid evenly with the marinade, then let them rest for 30 minutes.
  • As the squid marinates, you can light your charcoal to get it ready for grilling.
  • Meanwhile, we’ll make the dipping sauce. Crush chilies and garlic with a mortar and pestle. Then, add coriander and mint, and complete the sauce by mixing in fish sauce, white sugar, and lime juice.
  • When your charcoal is hot, lightly coat the grill with oil using a brush.
  • Place the marinated squid on the grill over high heat. Cook for 2–3 minutes on each side. Look for the edges to crisp and char slightly, and for the squid to turn opaque, indicating it’s cooked through. Make shallow cuts on the squid’s surface for added visual appeal and even grilling.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.

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