Pla Goong (Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad)

Pla Goong (Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad)

This dish is somewhere between a shrimp salad and a ceviche – just-cooked shrimp dressed with a sour-savory-sweet mixture of lime, fish sauce, and sweet chile paste, then showered with herbs and chiles. In classic Thai fashion, it’s combination of many tastes, each moment on your palate different from the next. It’s a favorite of Pornpong Kanittanon, the Consul General of Thailand in New York, and the recipe is adapted from his wife, Jaisamarn.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 2 persons



  1. Step 1

    Bring a pot of 3 quarts of water to a boil. (I like to salt the water like pasta water; Kanittanon does not add salt.)
  2. Step 2

    In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, nam prik pao and chopped chiles. Taste, and adjust with any of the ingredients, including salt. The sauce’s flavor should be led by sourness and savoriness, but with a good balance of sweetness and heat.
  3. Step 3

    Cook the shrimp in the water until it just turns opaque, medium or medium-rare, about 1 minute. For better flavor, cook the shrimp with heads or shells on; peel when just cooled enough to handle.
  4. Step 4

    Add the shrimp to the sauce while still warm and toss; the lime will continue to “cook” the shrimp like a ceviche. Add the lemongrass, shallot, cilantro, mint leaves and makrut lime leaves, reserving a little of each herb for garnish. Toss, and place on a dish; scatter the reserved herbs on top. Serve immediately with hot rice.