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Hot and Sour Squid Salad with Chilli, Lime Leaf, Mint and Coriander (Yam pla muk)

Mouthwatering hot and sour squid, accompanied by a salad of chilli, mint, coriander and lime leaf. A yam pla muk recipe inspired by Rick Stein's Thai travels.

From the book


This is a refreshing salad that’s remarkably low in calories – there’s no fat in it whatsoever. I’m not usually in favour of boiling squid but in this recipe it is dropped into lightly salted boiling water and left for only thirty seconds so that it just cooks through and doesn’t toughen up in any way. Also, by scoring it on one side into a diamond-shaped pattern, the wide strips curl up attractively. Presented simply on a white plate with lots of greenery – small lettuce leaves, mint and coriander and shredded spring onions – and a generous sprinkling of sliced red chilli, which accentuates the dazzling whiteness of the squid, it looks very appetizing.

You can also make this salad with beef. Rub a 3cm thick, 300g sirloin steak with a little oil, season and cook on a ridged cast-iron griddle over a high heat for 1½ minutes on either side for rare. Remove and leave to cool, then cut across into thin slices. Scatter over the top of the salad (together with a few halved cherry tomatoes if you wish), spoon over the dressing and serve.

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400g medium-sized prepared squid or cuttlefish (pouches about 18cm long)
1-2 small lettuces, such as little gem or romaine, broken into pieces
2 spring onions, halved and finely shredded
Small handful each of mint and coriander leaves
For the dressing:
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 red bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced
1 tsp palm sugar
10g garlic, finely chopped
2 fat lemongrass stalks, core finely chopped
1 kaffir lime leaf, finely shredded


Slit the body pouches of the squid along one side, open them out flat and score the inner surface into a fine diamond pattern with the tip of a small, sharp knife. Cut the squid pouches lengthways into 4 wide strips, and then each strip across into 3 pieces. Score the fins in the same way and cut each one in half. Separate the tentacles into pairs.

Bring 1.5 litres of water and 2 teaspoons salt to the boil in a pan. Add the pieces of squid a small handful at a time and cook for 30 seconds until it has just turned white and opaque and curled up. Remove with a strainer, rinse briefly under cold water, tip into a colander and leave to drain well. Repeat with the remaining squid, bringing the water back to a gentle boil each time. When all the squid is cooked, leave it to cool to room temperature.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl.

Scatter the lettuce leaves, shredded spring onions and herbs over the base of a serving plate. Mix the dressing into the squid and then spoon it over the top of the salad with the excess dressing. Serve straight away.


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