Thai Squid Salad

The actual name of this salad is Spicy Squid, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad. It contains nam prik pao, a Thai chile pepper paste, which is why I shortened the recipe name to a Thai squid salad. If you haven’t enjoyed nam prik pao before, like me, be prepared to fall in love with yet another chile pepper!

This recipe comes from the book Red Hot Kitchen, by Diana Kuan, published in 2019.

From this cookbook, I’ve made Fish Tacos with Yuzu Kosho Slaw, and Salmon with Sweet Ginger Sauce. The book, which I love, is all about making classic Asian chili sauces and dishes to make with those sauces.

I think I especially wanted to make this salad because I personally can’t get enough squid in my diet. And what a wonderful combination of salad ingredients!

From the author: “Nam prik pao offers an earthy, savory contrast to the light, tangy, and minty flavors in this summery salad. (It’s unfortunately still summer where I live!) This is also a lightning-fast dish to make; the longest time is spent trimming the squid into bite-size rings and short pieces.”

This delicious salad does require some knowledge about cleaning squid. Below the recipe is an easy tutorial.

Spicy Squid, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad

1/2 pound cleaned squid
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 Persian cucumbers (mini)
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small shallot
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 fresh bird’s eye chili, minced
2 tablespoons nam prik pao
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
Lime wedges, for serving

With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, slice the body of the squid into rings about 1/2” wide. Trim the tentacles into 2-3” lengths. (My tentacles didn’t require any trimming.)_Pat the squid dry with clean kitchen towels.

In a large bowl, whisk together the fish sauce and lime juice. Toss the cucumbers, tomatoes, and shallot in the fish sauce mixture and transfer to a serving dish.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the chili and nam prik pao and stir-fry just until aromatic, 10-20 seconds.

Add the squid and stir-fry until the edges begin to curl, 1-2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and transfer the squid to the cucumbers and tomatoes on the serving dish.

Add the mint leaves and give everything a quick toss.

Serve with additional lime wedges.

Squid Cleaning Tutorial:

To begin, grab the head with one hand, and the body with the other. Give a gentle twist and pull the innards out of the body that are attached to the head.

Then grab the squid bodies and remove the long piece of pointy cartilage by giving a slight pull.

Cut the heads right above the eyes to trim the tentacles. The ink pouches will be cut, but I didn’t need to keep this for any reason. Remove any hard parts within the heads with your knife.

Grab the bodies and remove the skin. It helps if you put your finger inside the bodies.

Then remove the fins at the side of the squid bodies. They’re easy to remove.

Rinse the bodies and tentacles, with special attention to the body insides. Make sure they are empty. Then dry on paper towels before cooking.

By Published On: September 18th, 202339 Comments on Thai Squid Salad

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. David Scott Allen September 18, 2023 at 6:50 AM - Reply

    Oh, wow — this looks so amazing! I just googled “how to make nam prick pao” because, well… you know. Sounds really easy and doable. I’ll be making both soon!

    • Chef Mimi September 18, 2023 at 7:49 AM - Reply

      Oh damn. The garlic. That’s really unfortunate.

      • David Scott Allen September 18, 2023 at 1:50 PM

        I know – but I’m used to making most every condiment. So now I have a new one! :)

      • Chef Mimi September 18, 2023 at 4:56 PM


  2. Ronit September 18, 2023 at 8:31 AM - Reply

    This salad looks so full of flavors. I like the contrasting texture of fresh crunchy cucumbers in it. I’ll be looking for this chili paste soon! :)

    • Chef Mimi September 18, 2023 at 9:53 AM - Reply

      It was so good. Definitely spicy, but in a great way!

  3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen September 18, 2023 at 8:49 AM - Reply

    This looks really tasty Mimi, and quick too, once the squid is cleaned. Nice step-by-step of the prep!

    • Chef Mimi September 18, 2023 at 9:54 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Dorothy! I am so glad I made this salad!

  4. Charlie DeSando September 18, 2023 at 4:09 PM - Reply

    Very colorful and lots of great flavors, looks great Mimi

    • Chef Mimi September 18, 2023 at 4:57 PM - Reply

      Thanks! It was really really good!

  5. Debra September 18, 2023 at 7:21 PM - Reply

    I have shared before that I’m not too adventurous and this falls into that category for me–fried calamari was once a big step for me! 🤪 I’m not exactly proud of that, but it’s just true. I often share your posts with a cousin, who with a professional culinary background and a love for sea food also enjoys unique recipes. I’m passing this one on to her. I did enjoy learning how to prepare the squid!

    • Chef Mimi September 19, 2023 at 2:12 PM - Reply

      Thanks! It’s okay. I’m surrounded by people who aren’t adventurous. More for me, I always say!!!

  6. Sherry Mackay September 18, 2023 at 9:51 PM - Reply

    i love good Asian flavours and this sounds fabulous Mimi. I think i may have to get the fishmonger to clean the squid for me :=)

    • Chef Mimi September 19, 2023 at 2:11 PM - Reply

      Ha! Well it’s a bit of work – especially if you get the smaller squid.

  7. Pauline McNee September 18, 2023 at 9:52 PM - Reply

    Thanks so much for the tutorial on how to clean the squid Mimi, I’ve had a lot to do with other types of seafood, but not so much squid. And I must either make my own paste or buy some. This looks absolutely delicious. The weather is warming up and this looks perfect.

    • Chef Mimi September 19, 2023 at 2:11 PM - Reply

      I hope you get a chance to make it. It was so so good!

  8. Tandy | Lavender and Lime September 18, 2023 at 10:56 PM - Reply

    Not sure if my comment through? I love squid and thankfully we get it cleaned. Will make this with the chilli toned down.

    • Chef Mimi September 19, 2023 at 2:10 PM - Reply

      Oh, that is nice! I bet what you get is fresh as well. Lucky!

  9. Ron September 19, 2023 at 8:37 AM - Reply

    Oh I do love squid, and I love Thai food, so this is win win recipe. Thanks for sharing…

    • Chef Mimi September 19, 2023 at 2:09 PM - Reply

      I hope you make it Ron! It’s so good!

  10. Chef Mimi September 19, 2023 at 2:10 PM - Reply

    You are welcome any time!

  11. Chef Mimi September 19, 2023 at 4:48 PM - Reply

    Aww thanks! I love to cook!

  12. September 19, 2023 at 11:59 PM - Reply

    Love this Thai Squid Salad Mimi! It’s got loads of flavours of Thailand in it.

    • Chef Mimi September 20, 2023 at 7:16 AM - Reply

      The spiciness was perfect, too!

  13. carrietalkingmeals September 20, 2023 at 6:41 AM - Reply

    I absolutely love Thai food and all of the delicious flavors. This Thai Squid recipe looks like a flavor explosion and I wish I had it here now! Adding it to my list :)

    • Chef Mimi September 20, 2023 at 7:17 AM - Reply

      I’m so glad I made this! Definitely a flavor explosion!

  14. spicedblog September 20, 2023 at 6:53 AM - Reply

    I bought this cookbook for Laura after the last time you shared a recipe from it! It really is a good book. We haven’t tried this recipe yet, but now we need to move it higher up the list!

    • Chef Mimi September 20, 2023 at 7:17 AM - Reply

      Oh yay! It really is a fun book! Great recipes, like this one.

  15. Frank Fariello September 21, 2023 at 7:40 AM - Reply

    I thought I had commented already but it didn’t get through? Anyway, this looks fabulous. And now I’m anxious to try nam prik pao. I’ve yet to meet a chili paste I didn’t like.

    • Chef Mimi September 21, 2023 at 1:15 PM - Reply

      Exactly! Me, too. This one is wonderful!

  16. Karen (Back Road Journal) September 23, 2023 at 8:37 AM - Reply

    Nice tutorial on how to clean the squid but I’m lucky that I can buy it cleaned so this dish is then very quick and easy to prepare.

    • Chef Mimi September 23, 2023 at 4:44 PM - Reply

      You are very lucky! I didn’t mind much, but then my back started hurting!

  17. Chef Mimi September 24, 2023 at 7:25 AM - Reply

    Thanks, Velva! You described it perfectly!

  18. StefanGourmet September 25, 2023 at 11:17 AM - Reply

    I love anything with Nam Prik Pao so I’ll have to try this. I make my own NPP from scratch because we love it so much in a stir fry with ground chicken, eggplant, and Thai basil.

    • Chef Mimi September 26, 2023 at 3:55 PM - Reply

      Oh fun! It really was good! I’d do that too but my husband won’t eat seafood, or Thai food. 🙄

  19. Raymund September 27, 2023 at 6:42 PM - Reply

    Thai Squid Salad? Count me in! 🦑 This salad sounds like a burst of refreshing and spicy flavors.

    • Chef Mimi September 28, 2023 at 3:42 PM - Reply

      It was so so good. Wish I had more!

  20. […] squid a few months ago, I ordered an extra pound of squid. I can always enjoy a squid dish! The spicy Thai salad was superb, shown below left. I’ve also made a Nigella recipe for pasta with squid, below […]

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