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angled close up shot of spicy thai duck salad

Spicy Thai Duck Salad

  • Author: anita | wild thistle kitchen
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: salad for two 1x


This Spicy Thai Duck Salad is one of my most-craved dishes. Packed with everything I love about Thai food - spicy, sour, crunchy, savory, a tiny bit sweet. It is one of our favorite date-night at home dishes and I hope you love it as much as we do!



For the salad

  • 2 domestic duck breasts, fat scored in a criss-cross pattern
  • medium-sized head of leafy lettuce
  • english cucumber, sliced into ribbons with vegetable peeler
  • large carrot, peeled and sliced into ribbons or shredded
  • medium red onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup each of fresh mint leaves, cilantro leaves, basil leaves (thai if you can find it), and sliced green onions
  • two tomatoes, sliced into wedges (not pictured here, but a very good addition)
  • fresh lime wedges for serving
  • rice or mung bean noodles (optional) - just cook one or two servings according to package instructions

what you need for the dressing

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 1 tablespoon of honey, sugar, or sweetener of your choice- optional but it gives a nice balance
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated
  • 1/2 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon toasted rice power (optional but very authentic)




  1. To make toasted rice powder, place 1/4 cup rice in a sauté pan over medium heat (I use jasmine, but a glutinous rice is traditional). Toast, stirring and shaking pan almost constantly, until rice is very dark golden, but not burnt.
  2. Transfer to mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind or pulse until very finely ground.
  3. Mix dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside. (see notes for a variation here)
  4. Score duck breasts and place fat side down in a skillet. Turn heat on to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes, removing excess duck fat as it renders.
  5. Once fat is nicely rendered and golden brown, flip breasts over and cook for 1-2 minutes until desired doneness. We like ours quite pink still so I only cook for about 1 minute on the meaty side.
  6. Remove to plate and let rest while you arrange the lettuce, noodles, and other ingredients on a large platter.
  7. Slice duck breast thinly and arrange on platter.
  8. Drizzle dressing over everything just before serving.
  9. Serve with extra dressing, lime wedges, and toasted rice powder.


Sometimes when I make this I let the tomatoes (not pictured here), onions, chili peppers, and cucumbers marinate in the dressing while I prepare the duck. It gives them more flavor and takes the edge off the onions a bit.

If you don't want to make veggie ribbons or shreds, you can just slice the veggies thinly or any way you like. The textures of the ribbons are just really fun and special.

  • Category: dinner salad

Keywords: spicy thai duck salad, thai duck, thai crispy duck salad, date night at home