It’s getting to be that time again in Miami. That time when it’s so oppressively hot but you still need to eat. And cook. Thai Shrimp Salad to the rescue! Bright, light, citrusy, and zesty-it’s summertime in a bowl. And best of all, the shrimp requires just a very quick pass under the broiler, leaving a nice cool kitchen. This is a dish I start to crave as soon as it gets hot, and once you try it, you will too.
This Shrimp Salad, known as Pla Goong, relies on some traditional Thai ingredients for a very punchy salad. Lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves amp up the citrusy dressing, fish sauce adds funky depth, and chilis add heat. Counter intuitively, that heat actually helps cool you down. It’s not by accident that the hottest locales have the spiciest cuisines. Fresh herbs, lettuce, and tomato round it all out.
Thai Shrimp Salad Dressing
This dressing is so insanely good! I could honestly drink it. If you can’t find the frozen tubs of minced lemongrass, which I swear by, you will need to get fresh lemongrass stalks. To prep them, remove the bulbs and the tough outer part of the stalks and mince the more tender green part.
Sumo oranges are particularly great this year, really sweet and juicy. If you can find them use that, otherwise a regular orange will be delicious too. Mix the fresh citrus juices, the fish sauce, ginger, lemongrass, and the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Time For The Shrimp
The shrimp for this cooks so quickly. Just drizzle with some oil, season, and broil for a few minutes, 3-5 depending on the strength of your broiler.
Keep a close eye on it, we want perfectly pink and tender shrimp, not tough shrimp that’s been overcooked.
Once the shrimp is cool enough to handle, remove the tails. Add the still warm shrimp (including any accumulated juices) to the dressing and gently mix. Mix in the fresh herbs and tomatoes. I like to serve this with a soft lettuce to scoop up the shrimp, but you could also serve it as a more composed salad. Either way, this Thai Shrimp Salad is going to become your it’s hot, I don’t want to cook, summer go-to. (And to really cool you down, try pairing with either Yuzu Margaritas or Lychee Mai Tais) If you try it, let us know. We love hearing from you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe, and of course tag us in your beautiful pictures @funkyasiankitchen.
- 16 extra large peeled and deveined shrimp
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 lemongrass stalk (or 2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass)
- 2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
- 1 large shallot
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, about ½ a large lime
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, about ¼ large orange
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 4 sprigs fresh mint
- 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
- 2–3 fresh hot chilies seeded and finely chopped
- 1 scallion finely sliced on and angle
- 1 handful of cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 head of soft lettuce like bibb or boston
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If using whole lemongrass, remove the tough outer leaves of lemongrass and trim off the top ⅔ and the end of the bulb. You will only be using the bottom portion. Slice the lemongrass as thinly as possible. Then chop it up finely.
- Peel and trim the shallot, cut in half, and then finely slice across the bulb.
- Turn the kaffir lime leaves over, pull the hard center string off (like a string bean) and then stack the leaves, roll them tightly like a cigarette and shred them with a knife as finely as possible. Then run your knife through the stack a couple of times to chop up the leaves.
- Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, ⅛ teaspoon of salt, and the citrus juices to a large bowl. Mix until sugar is dissolved and set aside.
- Roughly chop the cilantro and the mint and set aside.
- Move the oven rack to the top shelf. Toss the shrimp with the oil and sprinkle lightly with ground black pepper. Lay the shrimp in one layer on a piece of foil or parchment paper and broil on high for 4-5 minutes. (Check to see that the underside of the shrimp has been cooked. In general, I find that you do not need to flip over the shrimp while cooking.)
- Put the shrimp aside until cool enough to handle and then remove the tails. Pour the shrimp and any accumulated juices into a bowl with the dressing. Add the tomatoes and the herbs. Mix gently to combine. Take a small taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Serve the shrimp warm served over a couple leaves of lettuce. Garnish with some sliced scallion.