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Yum Talay Recipe (Spicy Thai Seafood Salad)

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This yum talay recipe is a delicious spicy Thai seafood salad with a yummy dressing that’s tangy, sweet, and salty. I love it with shrimp, crab, and squid, tossed with fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices. So delicious!

Top-down view of yum talay, spicy Thai seafood salad, with vegetables, chilies, and garlic.

Seafood is a real treat for many people in rural Thailand, and nothing makes me happier than seeing my grandmother’s smile when I serve her a plate of it.

My family loves dishes like tom yum talay and this delicious seafood salad, especially my husband, who can’t seem to get enough of fresh Thai calamari.

Making this salad is so easy, and sharing it with loved ones is simply the best.

What is yum talay

Yum talay is a classic Thai seafood salad. It’s typically served with a seafood mix like shrimp, squid, and mussels with a mix of fresh herbs, spicy chilies, and a tangy dressing.


A Thai woman presenting yum talay, a spicy seafood salad.

Thai yum salad

Yum refers to a type of Thai salad with a dressing of spicy, sour, sweet, and salty flavors. Talay is Thai for sea, but in this case it refers to seafood. Thailand is loved for its fresh seafood and fish options.

Two more great yum salads are yum neua with beef and yum woon sen, a pork and seafood salad with glass noodles. All these tasty Thai salads are fresh, healthy, and delicious.

Spicy Thai seafood salad

This Thai talay salad is one of the best options for summer. It’s refreshing, and it comes together in less than 20 minutes.

You can easily customize the spice level by using less or more chilies, opt for a milder type of chili, or simply remove the seeds.

Close-up of yum talay, a Thai seafood salad with shrimp and squid.

The dressing is a mix of tangy lime juice, umami-rich fish sauce, and sweet sugar. Feel free to taste-test and customize it to your taste, this is the way I like it best. Spicy, sour, sweet, and salty!

I also added some ground pork for extra texture and a savory, meaty taste. You can simply omit it if you’d like a salad with seafood only.

And hey, don’t shy away from adding your favorite vegetables. You can easily toss in some extra veggies like crunchy cucumbers, carrots, or even bell peppers.

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 yum talay labeled.
  • Seafood – I used crab, shrimp, and squid. Feel free to switch it up and use clams, scallops, mussels, or octopus.
  • Ground pork – Adds a savory, meaty taste. You can simply omit it if you don’t eat meat.
  • Garlic, tomatoes, celery, onion – My choice of salad vegetables, you can add others too.
  • Chilies – I used Thai jinda chilies, which are quite spicy. If you prefer a mild salad, use a mild type of chili pepper or use less chilies.
  • Fish sauce – A staple in Thai cuisine with a salty, umami flavor.
  • White sugar – A touch of sweetness is essential for balancing out the salty, spicy, and sour notes.
  • Lime – Fresh lime juice is key for the refreshing, tangy flavor yum salads are known for.

How to make spicy seafood salad

Making this yum talay recipe is so simple. Start by cooking the meat and seafood, then simply toss everything together in a big mixing bowl. It’s that easy!

  1. Pounded garlic and chilies in clay mortar.

    Step 1: Clean your seafood and chop your vegetables. Crush your garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle.

  2. Spicy salad dressing in a mixing bowl.

    Step 2: In a big bowl, mix the garlic-chili paste with lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar until well mixed.

  3. Cooked ground pork in a colander.

    Step 3: Fill a pan with water and bring it to a boil. Add in the minced pork and cook until it’s done. Drain it and add it to your dressing bowl.

  4. Seafood with salad dressing in a mixing bowl.

    Step 4: Do the same with the seafood: quick boil, drain, and then into the bowl it goes. Stir everything together and make sure the dressing is well mixed with the meat and seafood.

  5. Yum talay ready in a mixing bowl.

    Step 5: Add your prepped vegetables and give it a good toss. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Kitchenware

  • Mortar and pestle or food processor for crushing garlic and chilies
  • Cooking pan or pot with colander or strainer
  • Large spoon for mixing the seafood salad
  • Cutting board and a sharp knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Large mixing bowl

Yam talay serving suggestions

Yum talay, or yam talay, can be served for a healthy lunch or dinner. You can serve it on its own or with Thai sticky rice, and even jasmine rice. Serve with a lime wedge on the side and extra chilies if needed.

You can pair this salad with other Thai food like moo ping, som tum Thai, and nam tok moo.

Storing leftovers and making ahead

Storing: Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in your refrigerator, it’s best to consume them within 2–3 days. If possible, store the dressing and the salad separate, this prevents it from becoming soggy.

Making ahead: Prep your vegetables, seafood, and meat. Store everything in separate containers in your fridge, and toss it with the dressing when you’re ready.

Frequently asked questions

Is yum talay spicy?

Yes, yum talay is usually a spicy Thai salad. The dressing has red chilies, but you can make it less spicy by using fewer chilies, taking out the seeds, or using a milder type of chili pepper.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Traditional fish sauce is gluten-free, but some store-bought brands may contain gluten. Always check the label to be sure. Everything else in this recipe is naturally gluten-free.

Can I make yum talay vegetarian?

Yes, you can omit the seafood and pork entirely and enjoy this salad with healthy vegetables like cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers.

Authentic Thai salad recipes

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Yum Talay Recipe (Spicy Thai Seafood Salad)

Top-down view of yum talay, spicy Thai seafood salad, with vegetables, chilies, and garlic.
A quick and easy yum talay recipe for a deliciously spicy Thai seafood salad, ready in under 20 minutes!
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Salad
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 18 ounces seafood mix I used crab, shrimp, and squid
  • 5.3 ounces ground pork optional
  • 3.5 ounces tomatoes sliced
  • 1/2 cup onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery roughly chopped
  • 4 chilies add to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

Instructions

  • Clean your seafood and chop your vegetables. Crush your garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle.
  • In a big bowl, mix the garlic-chili paste with lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar until well mixed.
  • Fill a pan with water and bring it to a boil. Add in the minced pork and cook until it’s done. Drain it and add it to your dressing bowl.
  • Do the same with the seafood: quick boil, drain, and then into the bowl it goes. Stir everything together and make sure the dressing is well mixed with the meat and seafood.
  • Add your prepped vegetables and give it a good toss. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • You can use any kind of seafood. I used crab, shrimp, and squid.
  • Feel free to customize the dressing to your taste.

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