If you’re looking for something refreshing to have for lunch, this will put a spring in your step, a twinkle in your eye. It’s spicy as hell, but with a clean, fresh taste that exemplifies the genre of Thai salads. You can use either squid, shrimp, or a mixture of the two.

How you prep the squid really depends on the size of squid you’re using. Smallish squid are good for a salad, as the texture when they’re small lends itself better to this dish. To get the “pine cone effect” once cooked, you need to split the squid tube down one side, open it up, and, holding the knife at about 20-30 degrees from the horizontal, score it on the inside in a criss cross pattern. When it’s cooked, the squid tube will curl and the flaps you’ve cut will stick out. Prepping it this way means it cooks quicker, looks pretty, and has a toothsome consistency when you chew it.


handful of squid

handful of coriander

1 european shallot, or 4 or 5 Thai shallots

4 – 7 Thai chillies (depending on how hot you want it)

half a stick of lemongrass, finely chopped

juice of between half and a whole lime

2 or 3 splashes of fish sauce


1. Chop the shallot in half, lengthways. Then slice it thinly, on a diagonal. That way you get longer pieces. Put it in a mixing bowl.

2. Slice the chillies, lengthways, into fine slices. Put into the bowl. Wash your hands.

3. Pull the leaves off the coriander. Add to the bowl.

4. Chop the lemon grass finely, add to the bowl and mix everything up.

5. Clean the squid and prep it as described above, by scoring it in a criss cross, on the inside of the tube. Then cut it into oblongs about 2 x 4 centimetres in size. The head/tentacles can be left whole or cut in two, lengthways.

6. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Dump the squid into the saucepan. Time 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on how thick the squid tube is. Immediately pour everything into a colander or sieve, to catch the squid.

7. Leave the squid 1 – 2 mins to cool, then add to the rest of the salad in the mixing bowl.

8. Add 2 or 3 splashes of fish sauce and the juice of half a lime. Taste it. The saltiness and the sour should be in balance. Adjust with more lime juice or fish sauce if necessary.

9. Serve with steamed rice.

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