Need a tasty idea for a quick lunch? Try Pla Goong, a spicy Thai shrimp salad full of flavor. It has fresh herbs, big juicy shrimp, and spicy Thai chili peppers. The dressing is tangy and spicy too. Ready to serve in 15 minutes!
Use this homemade Thai chili jam or Nam Prik Pao for fresh and bold flavors. Make the sauce you can use in these recipes. Green mussels stir fry with Thai basil, Tom Yum shrimp soup, and Tom Yum chicken.
for more Thai spicy salads, try these mouthwatering recipes. Yum Talay, Thai green papaya salad, Thai shrimp mango salad with cashews, Thai beef laab salad, Lao green beans salad, and spicy cucumber salad.
- What is Pla Goong?
- What does Pla Goong Means?
- Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Ingredients for Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad
- How to Make Pla Goong
- Helpful Kitchen Notes and Tips
- How to Serve Pla Goong
- Storing Leftovers
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Thai Recipes You'll Love
- Authentic Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad (Pla Goong)
- Related Recipes
What is Pla Goong?
Pla Goong or Thai shrimp salad, is a delicious Thai dish popular in southern and central Thailand. It is a type of spicy shrimp salad where The shrimp is lightly blanched and then mixed with ingredients like chili, lime juice, fish sauce, and herbs. It has a tangy and refreshing flavor.
Pla Goong is often served as an appetizer or as a main course with rice. It is popular for its bold and zesty taste.
What does Pla Goong Means?
This dish is not pronounced "Pla," (Pla means fish in Thai, btw!) but rather pronounced more like Paa-la, with two syllables. Paala in Thai means to remove or cut open, and "Goong," which means shrimp, the main ingredient that gets disected out of it's shells, veins and heads and used for a spicy salad.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
You'll love this spicy Thai shrimp salad because it's easy, healthy, and perfect for meal prep. In just 10 minutes, you can whip up a fresh and vibrant dish bursting with bright and bold flavors. It's a great option for those looking for a quick and nutritious meal to satisfy their taste buds.
Ingredients for Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad
- Large jumbo shrimp, tail-on, peeled, deveined, and heads removed. Large shrimp is ideal.
- Thai Nam Prik Pao. Make sure to add ½ tablespoon of the oily part that floats to the. top for the extra flavors. Use my homemade recipe (highly recommended!) or use store-bought. They are available at most SE—Asian grocery stores.
- Shallot, sliced long and thin, and sweet or red onion are also fine.
- Aromatic herbs: green onion (Spring onions), mint leaves, and cilantro. Read more about fresh Thai herbs here.
- Fresh lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves add the extra citrusy and herbaceous flavors. They can be found in the Asian markets. Use only the bottom stick stems of the lemongrass where the purple rings are still visible.
- Thai chilies. Use Thai bird chilis or the long red fresh ones. Fresh chili peppers are typically used for this refreshing salad, but red pepper flakes are fine in a pinch as a substitute.
- Fish sauce (Squid or Mega Chef brand)
- Lime juice. This recipe will require a lot of zest with fresh lime juice!
- Sugar. Traditionally, palm sugar is used, but I have seen Thai chefs in and out of Thailand use white or brown sugar.
How to Make Pla Goong
1. Prepare shrimp by peeling, deveining, and removing heads. Rinse with cold water, towel dry, and set aside until the water is ready
2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add a dash of salt and use a few cups of water, just enogh to cover the shrimp when cooking. Once boiled, add the shrimp and cook for -2 minutes, depending on how rare you like your shrimp.
3. While the shrimp are cooling, make the salad dressing in a medium bowl by combining Nam Prik Pao (Thai chili paste), garlic, chilis, sugar, and fish sauce. Mix well until sugar mostly dissolves. Set aside.
4. Add the shrimp to the salad dressing in the mixing bowl. Stir and taste. It's so good! It's practically done here if you want, but let's keep going!
5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl using shallot, green onion, mint, cilantro, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. Toss and adjust the seasoning with lime juice, fish sauce, or sugar. Done!
Serve fresh with chopped lettuce, cabbage, or sliced cucumbers.
Helpful Kitchen Notes and Tips
- You can omit the herbs if you have a picky eater who doesn't like greens. It's so tasty, with or without!
- Double up and make extra dressing to drizzle more on the side over some hot rice or a platter of fresh vegetables you can use to serve Pla Goong.
- If you can't handle the spices, adjust the spice level by controlling the amount of Thai bird’s eye chilis or use sweet pepper instead.
- This Thai salad recipe airs on the spicy and sour side. Add extra lime juice for a tangy lime zest flavor.
- For a healthier option, use monk fruit sugar instead of regular sugar.
How to Serve Pla Goong
Present Pla Goong as a refreshing appetizer, a salad, or a light main course. Serve it on a bed of lettuce for an extra touch of freshness or with jasmine or sticky rice for a more Thai experience.
While best enjoyed fresh, Pla Goong can be refrigerated for a day and no more. The fresh herbs will get soggy, and flavors will be lost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Goong in Thai means shrimp.
The difference between prawns and shrimp is mainly their anatomy and their location. Prawns typically have larger legs and claws, while shrimp have smaller legs.
Regarding taste, prawns are often considered sweeter and more flavorful than shrimp. Also, in the US, the word shrimp is used more, while in Europe or other countries, prawn is a more common word for the same thing.
Yes, you can use pre-cooked shrimp for this salad. Cocktail shrimp can be substituted for a quick meal on busy nights.
Certainly, but be mindful that it won't be termed Pla Goong, as "Goong" specifically refers to shrimp.
More Thai Recipes You'll Love
- Authentic Thai green curry with chicken and creamy coconut milk.
- Thai beef salad, another sour salad with cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and onions.
- Thai green seafood sauce is a delicious seafood sauce that can be used as a Thai salad dressing.
- Yum Woon Sen-a Thai glass noodle salad with shrimp.
- Thai shrimp fried rice
- Prik Nam Pla
- Shrimp in a blanket
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