Spicy Thai Prawn Salad

Spicy Thai prawn salad
Healthy Thai Prawn Salad

This Thai Prawn salad recipe always takes me back to amazing times I had traveling in Thailand. The recipe is based on prawn salad made in Thailand with the spicy and sour flavors of chili and lime mixed with the delicious sweet taste of fresh prawns, crunchy cabbage, sesame seeds and toasted peanuts. A simple dressing with lemon grass, soy sauce, peanut oil and fish sauce just screams Thailand! I like to make it spicy, because that is how I always do it, eating street food in Thailand, but adjust it to your taste. This aromatic, fresh Asian combination is a low carb, low calorie summer salad made with ingredients you can basically buy anywhere.

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How to Make this Thai Prawn Salad

Start out by cleaning the prawns, this is a bit of work! Crush and toast the peanuts. Fry the prawns in garlic butter, it takes 3 minutes. Chop the herbs; mint, basil and coriander. Cut the cabbage (easy to just buy chopped cabbage). Slice the tomatoes and cucumber. Check out how to dice a cucumber. Make the Thai salad dressing by combining sliced lemon grass and chilis, soy sauce, fish sauce and peanut oil in a jar that seals properly. Shake well. Make the Thai prawn salad by combining all the ingredients in a large salad bowl; fried prawns, cabbage, tomato, cucumber, toasted peanuts, coriander, mint, basil and sesame seeds. Sprinkle with the salad dressing and toss well.

Thai prawn salad ingredients - prawns, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, basil, coriander mint, chilies
Fresh ingredients to make Thai prawn salad; prawns, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, lemon grass, cabbage, peanuts, basil, coriander mint, chilies

How to Clean and Fry the Prawns

The shells of bigger prawns like Tiger or King prawns need to be removed, this is fairly easy. Remove the shell, head, tail and intestinal tract as follows. Grip the body of the prawn and twist the head, do the same with the tail. Turn the prawn over, remove the legs and pull the shell open along the length of the prawn, from the head end downwards and remove the shell.

pan fried prawns for salad
Pan fried prawns. Half of the prawns are kept whole and half are cut into quarters.

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Deveining a Prawn

To remove the intestinal tract (deveining) check for a black line running down the back of the prawn after removing the shell, make a shallow cut along the length of this line and lift it out with the tip of the knife. The intestinal tract is not harmful to eat, but can be gritty and the prawn looks better without it.

cleaning prawns
Cleaning prawns – remove the head, tail, legs and devein.

Frying Prawns

Heat butter in a frying pan. Add garlic and sauté over medium heat, add prawns and fry for about 2 minutes on each side. Fry prawns until they turn pink. Make sure they are cooked, but try not to overcook, they can become rubbery if overcooked.

I like to chop up half of the prawns into quarters and add the other half whole, without chopping up.

Toasting Peanuts

Place the peanuts on a cutting board and crush with a rolling pin or back of a spoon. Put the peanuts in a plastic bag before crushing to make the job less messy.

Toast the peanuts in a large dry frying pan over a medium-high heat, be careful not to burn the peanuts.

crushing peanuts
Crushing peanuts for the prawn salad with the back of a spoon.

Make the Thai Salad Dressing.

Make this simple Thai vinaigrette salad dressing by mixing in a jar that seals well about 2 table spoons of peanut oil with the juice of 3 squeezed limes (2 tbsp), 2 tbsp of fish sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce add some crushed red chili peppers and lemon grass. Shake well.

Thai Prawn Salad Ingredients.

Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs are essential in Thai cooking with a lot of Thai Basil and coriander (cilantro) being used. Thai basil is not easy to get everywhere, so we substitute it with regular basil and add some mint to duplicate the effect. Thai basil has a more licorice like aroma.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce also called ‘Nam Pla’ in Thailand, it is created from the runoff from barrels of anchovies, and is a good way to add that fishy taste to seafood dishes. Used in many Thai dishes.


Adding chili is a big part of authentic thai food. I like to use spicy bird eye chilis, if you don’t want it that spicy look at using a milder variety of chili.


Prawns are small aquatic crustaceans with a shell and ten legs, there are many varieties. Tiger or king prawns are big and juicy and are most commonly sold raw, they work very well to make this salad. Shrimps are tiny prawns. Fresh prawns, should smell fresh and clean, not smell fishy, and they should look moist. 

mix thai prawn salad ingredients
Place all the ingredients for the Thai prawn salad in a large bowl, sprinkle with dressing and toss.

Variations in this Thai Prawn Salad

Spiciness – I like to make this salad spicy. Cut and crush some red chili peppers. Control how spicy your salad is by increasing or decreasing the amount of crushed chili pepper used.

Don’t like spicy? just leave out the chili, it still tastes great!

Don’t love fish sauce taste? – the salad dressing works well without the fish sauce, but you I feel you loose that authentic Thai taste.

Tomatoes – ripe tomatoes work best, any kind. I like to use cherry tomatoes it is easier to get ripe cherry tomatoes out of season than most other varieties.

Spicy Thai prawn salad

Spicy Thai Prawn Salad.

Based on prawn salad made in Thailand with the spicy and sour flavors of chili and lime mixed with the delicious sweet taste of fresh prawns, crunchy cabbage, sesame seeds and toasted peanuts.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4


  • 500 grams prawns
  • 200 grams cabbage
  • 250 grams cherry tomatoes
  • 200 grams cucumber (1 medium sized fruit)
  • 8 grams coriander leaves (1/2 cup)
  • 10 grams basil (1/2 cup)
  • 10 grams mint (1/3 cup)
  • 40 grams peanuts
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Thai Dressing

  • 1 stick lemon grass thinly cut
  • 75 ml lime juice (1/3 cup) 3 limes squeezed
  • 10 ml fish sauce (2 tsp)
  • 30 ml soy sauce (1 tbsp)
  • 15 ml peanut oil (1 tbsp)
  • 3 chilies


Chop the vegetables

  • cut cherry tomatoes in half
  • thinly slice two cucumbers and cut the slices in half
  • chop the cabbage

Prepare the herbs

  • Remove the stalks and roughly chop the basil, coriander leaves and mint leaves

Roast the peanuts

  • crush the peanuts with a rolling pin or back of a spoon
  • roast the peanuts in a pan (oven also works)

Fry the prawns

  • clean prawns by removing heads, tails, legs, shells and devein
  • fry prawns on medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side in garlic butter (until pink)
  • Cut half of the fried prawns into quarters and keep half of the prawns whole

Prepare salad dressing

  • Prepare the dressing by mixing the following dressing ingredients through shaking in a jar with a well sealed lid; lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, peanut oil, chilies, lemon grass

Make the Thai prawn salad

  • Add prawns, prepared vegetables, herbs, roasted peanuts to a large salad bowl, sprinkle with salad dressing and toss
Keyword caprese salad, prawn, thai, thailand
Thailand Amphawa floating market
Finding amazing Thai food at the Amphawa floating market in Thailand. The seafood here was some of the best we had in Thailand!


From the nutritional information you can see this is a low carb, low calorie salad with only 140 calories per serving and only 4% carbohydrates.  Nutrition facts were calculated with an online calculator and is an approximate, use your favorite tool to confirm.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving 
Calories 140
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9.8g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.5g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 706mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 10.6g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3.8g 14%
Total Sugars 4.9g 
Protein 5.5g 
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 450mg 10%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Spicy Thai prawn salad
Spicy Thai Prawn Salad

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