06 Oct2008

Thai Tuna Salad

by Marketman


A “Thai Nicoise” salad. That is what I thought after my first fork full of this salad… it was so good we made it for two consecutive lunches! And because of the simple and healthy ingredients, it is now definitely considered “diet food” of the finest kind in our home… Actually, only the greens and tuna make this similar to a real salade nicoise, but I just loved the combination, particularly paired with a bright and flavorful makrut lime dressing. But before I get to the really easy recipe, a word on the tuna flakes that I used… local canned tuna used to be incredibly mushy and unpalatable, until Century tuna decided to address more upscale segments of the tuna consuming public, first with the pricey upper end “for family and friends only” premium tuna fillet I featured here, over a year ago, and which I cannot find in any food stores today. I LOVED that tuna in olive oil, and thought it was on par with the better tunas from Italy and Spain. But recently I tried tuna flakes in vegetable oil, also by Century Tuna, and it was very good as well. It is my default locally canned tuna at the moment. Thank you Century Tuna for doing such a nice job developing and marketing these high quality canned tunas… The other key ingredient for this salad are really good kaffir or makrut limes


To make, place some crisp greens in a salad bowl or plate; I used chopped romaine which stands up nicely to the robust dressing. Add some mint and coriander leaves if you have them. Add some chopped tomatoes as well and drain a can of tuna flakes and place this on top of the greens. Next, make the salad dressing with the juice of several makrut limes, thai fish sauce, a little brown sugar, sliced chillies, julienned ginger and sliced shallots. Mix this all together and let it sit for a few minutes. Pour the dressing over the salad, add some chopped peanuts and serve… really easy and really delicious. Real limes (not green lemons) are critical here, and the fragrant makrut limes will really make this special.



  1. Jun says:

    Hi Market Man,

    Just discover your site this weekend and so far I was able to read quite a fair amount of your posting. Thanks as it somehow manage to satisfy my passion for food and cooking. I’ve been living overseas with my family for more than 10 yrs now and weekend is normally reserved on a trip to a local market to look for good quality food as well as dishing out some simple nice meal for friends and family. As I also travel quite often mostly in Asia and make it to a point to try a local food. Hope you can continue to share your passion to us… I will be a regular from now on :)

    Just to share a bit on salad dresshing. I’ve tried freshly squeeze orange with a bit of marmalade or jam it taste nice too.

    Oct 6, 2008 | 8:57 am


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  3. cherrypajamas says:

    MarketManila, where can I find kaffir limes in Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga City?

    Oct 6, 2008 | 9:14 am

  4. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Yummy…let me try that.Sounds really healthy. I agree about Century Tuna..I used to travel a lot and buy tuna in cans at outstations. The Century we have now is really good !!

    Oct 6, 2008 | 9:54 am

  5. estella says:

    i only have meyer lemons, limes and calamansi in my garden. will the lime juice work for this dressing?

    Oct 6, 2008 | 10:20 am

  6. Cecilia MQ says:

    that is one healthy looking salad. homemade italian dressing would be my choice of dressing to kill the tuna’s after taste.

    Oct 6, 2008 | 11:13 am

  7. Myra P. says:

    Century Tuna’s Lite Hot and Spicy tuna flakes is a winner (could be a used in this salad for extra kick), and so is the new line of Bangus Fillets (spanish style and black bean sauce). I’ve thrown out all canned meat from my pantry and always have a stock of tuna in all “flavors”, ie, adobo, caldereta, bicol express… A bit off tangent, but Ligo has a line of Premium Sardines (an oxymoron to an elitist) which is only a few pesos more expensive but contains bigger fish. Their sardines in spicy gata is a must-try.

    Oct 6, 2008 | 12:07 pm

  8. joey says:

    I also consider Century tuna a pantry staple…love the hot and spicy for tuna pasta :) This is also one of C’s emergency foods when I’m too tired to cook :)

    Oct 6, 2008 | 12:16 pm

  9. terrey says:

    i am going to get yum moo yang (aroy mak!) tonite instead of the tuna salad since i dont like tuna…

    Oct 6, 2008 | 12:21 pm

  10. zena says:

    To avoid mushy tuna, I’ve always pucrhased the chunks. And the hot and spicy variant is a winner with steaming rice. My nieces love it and keep drinking water to counter the spiciness. I usually resort to my own (western) dressing for salads but this Thai dressing sounds really yummy. Just have to get the right limes…

    Oct 6, 2008 | 12:58 pm

  11. mojito_drinker says:

    hi MM – are you referring to “premium” century tuna in the red cans?

    Oct 6, 2008 | 5:45 pm

  12. k. ramos says:

    Yum! =D

    Oct 6, 2008 | 7:32 pm

  13. marisa says:

    mint… which kind? is it the spearmint? peppermint? are all these edible when fresh?

    Oct 6, 2008 | 8:11 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    marisa, I use the mint leaves sold in groceries… not sure what specific type of leaf they are, but there usually isn’t more than one choice of mint in our groceries. A lot of Thai dishes have mint leaves in them. mojitodrinker, there is a link to the specific can of century tuna in the post… for this dish, I used tuna flakes in vegetable oil… estella, lucky you with meyer lemons in the garden… yes, limes will do for this dish… cherrypajamas, sorry, I have no idea where to buy kaffir limes in your neck of the woods.

    Oct 6, 2008 | 8:25 pm

  15. cumin says:

    Sounds great! And just by chance, I have all ingredients right now. Thanks, MM. Agree on your feedback re Century Tuna — the only canned goods I keep in the pantry. I particularly like Tuna Chunks in Water but also love the Spanish Style.

    Oct 6, 2008 | 10:22 pm

  16. lyna says:

    I am on the south beach diet these 2 weeks and the salad really fits in well since I normally have tuna/greens/lemon only [boring!]. I am excited to do this tonight. Fortunateley for me, kaffir limes are readilly available here. It is really very fragrant and the scent sticks to my fingers and the kitchen whenever I use them.

    Oct 7, 2008 | 9:32 am

  17. ging berdon says:

    where can i find that premium tuna?

    one of my clients gave me canned tuna belly, a product of their own tuna cannery in gensan but it was only for export and not available locally.

    Oct 7, 2008 | 7:39 pm

  18. Liz says:

    This sounds so yummy! Can’t wait to try it out with the kaffir lime!

    Oct 8, 2008 | 8:36 am

  19. lyna says:

    tried it and it’s yummy!!i also use honey roasted peanuts, pleasant contrast with the lime and nuts

    Oct 8, 2008 | 9:58 am

  20. Rachanee Munar says:

    Kaffir lime? With the wobbly skin? I’ve never tried putting it in salad or anything because I usually found it to be bitter. I Thai cooking I know they use “dayap” alot, but if anyone is interested we have kaffir lime fruit. You can email me if you need some. Actually, most of the fruit just rots in our garden because nobody in the house really uses it except as air freshener.

    Oct 11, 2008 | 6:40 am


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