Healthy Food

E-sarn Style Spicy Shrimp Salad


‘Pla’ is another cooking method that has a process similar to spicy salad or Yum. The entry in the royal dictionary defines it as”a kind of side dish similar to spicy salad. but using raw meat.” Another definition is “A name for a dish that uses fresh meat, with orange or lime juice to cook the meat, mixed with vegetables and seasonings.”

The above definition shows that the ancient Thai people used raw meat to make salad, which we can see in the menu that is popular in the palace, such as fresh raw meat pla, which appears in ‘Kap Hae Chom Sweet & Savory Dishes’ composed by King Rama II .They are mentioned as follows:

From the above definition we can surmise that ancient Thai people often used raw meat to make salad and the following is an excerpt from a poem composed by King Rama II and found in “Kap Hae Chom Sweet and Savory Dishes”: –

“Slow, slow, raw meat pla, a sultry scent appeared
reminded of the time, where the beloved one was near”

For this dish, the raw meat is cut into bite-size chunks and topped with a salad dressing which is sour, salty and spicy and contains sliced shallots, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. Later on, a Chinese influence become apparent in the dish as shrimps were used instead of meat, something which is still popular to this day.

Health Benefits

‘Disease Preventing Spicy Shrimp Salad with Lemongrass and Shallot’ or Pla Kung is classified as spicy salad or Yum. It is an ancient Thai royal recipe with a memorably spicy taste. Use shrimp that is firm, plump, and springy when cooked and combine with the spicy salad dressing seasoned with lime juice, fish sauce, and chili. In addition, various herbs are added for an even richer flavor. Eat with hot steamed rice or eat as an appetizer, according to your preference.

  • ‘Lemongrass’ enhances immunity.*
  • ‘Shallot’ helps prevent allergies, anti-inflammation and protects against bacteria and viruses.**
  • ‘Kaffir lime leaves’ support antioxidant activity.***
  • ‘Lime’ helps fight free radicals, reduce inflammation, and repair damaged cells from infection. It also inhibits the growth of the virus.****
  • ‘Bird’s eye chili’ helps soothe cold symptoms, runny nose, and phlegm.*****
  • ‘Mint’ has the effect of killing germs, thereby helping prevent illnesses caused by viruses and bacteria. It also has sweating properties thus helping recover from the flu faster.


  • tiger or white prawns 120 gr
  • lemongrass 20 gr
  • shallot 10 gr
  • kaffir lime leaf 1 gr
  • spring onion 2 gr
  • mint 1 gr
  • thai chilli paste 10 gr
  • sugar 5 gr
  • fish sauce 5 gr
  • lime juice 5 gr
  • bird’s eye chilli 2 gr


Mix the shallots, chili, spring onion and season with chili paste and palm sugar to make the salad dressing.

Add the cooked shrimp and shredded kaffir lime leaf.

Combine the ingredients thoroughly and evenly.

Serve and garnish with mint.

* Khaerunnisa S, et al. Potential Inhibitor of COVID-19 Main Protease (Mpro) from Several Medicinal Plant
Compounds by Molecular Docking Study. Preprints 2020

** Russo M, Spagnuolo C, Tedesco, The flavonoid quercetin in disease prevention and therapy: facts and fancies. Biochem Pharmacol. 2012;83(1):6-15.
*** Khaerunnisa S, et al. Potential Inhibitor of COVID-19 Main Protease (Mpro) from Several Medicinal Plant
Compounds by Molecular Docking Study. Preprints 2020

**** Hemilä H, Chalker E. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, 1. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4
Asst. Prof. Dr. Ekkarat Bamrungphut, Herbs and Phytochemicals
Herbal Information Office, Faculty of Pharmacy Mahidol University –
***** Vonne D., Ofelia G., Guillermo O., José P., & Tzayhrí G. (2014). Determination of Capsaicin, Ascorbic Acid, Total Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Capsicum annuum L. var. serrano by Mid Infrared Spectroscopy (Mid-FTIR) and Chemometric Analysis. Journal of the Korean Society for Applied Biological Chemistry, 57(1): 133-142.