Not just another Thai Beef Salad….This is made with one little change to create a dressing from an award winning Thai restaurant, arguably one of the best in the world outside of Thailand!
This is a reader-favourite recipe included by popular demand in my debut cookbook “Dinner”!
Thai Beef Salad
I’m probably completely biased, but I think that Asian salads are the best in the world. I love them because they are interesting and the dressings are so good.
The chances of me ordering a salad as a dish (not a side) at any restaurant other than an Asian one is almost zero.
However, at Asian restaurants, there is a good prospect of it happening!!
My favourite part is the zingy, fresh, strong flavoured dressings used in Asian salads. No mayo, no cream, no cheese, far less oil. Just pure fresh flavours – often with plenty of fresh chilli heat in it. I love it!
Along with Green Papaya Salad, I think Thai Beef Salad is probably one of the better known Asian salads. I eat it year round, rain, hail or shine, and it’s one of my favourite ways to use a good piece of steak because a little bit goes a long way.
I don’t know about where you live, but even though Australia is cattle country, beef is the most expensive protein and a good steaks cost $40+ per kg (that’s $20+ per pound).
For a Thai Beef salad for 2, you really only need around 7 to 8 oz / 200 – 250g of good quality steak. Cook it to your liking…..I won’t say it’s a sacrilege to cook quality beef more than medium rare but… OK, I can’t resist, I have to say it. I think it’s a crime to cook quality beef beyond medium rare!!!!!
What goes in Thai Beef Salad
Here’s what you need.
The unique thing about this recipe is the use of coriander/cilantro stems in the Dressing. The flavour it adds is terrific – and authentic!
In Thailand, the roots are traditionally used but in Western countries, coriander usually isn’t sold with long roots like it is in Thailand so it’s a total pain to get enough to make this Dressing.
Using the stem is a terrific fall back!
How to make Thai Beef Salad
The Dressing is the star here, and the key to getting truly great flavour in it is to grind up the coriander/cilantro stems, chilli and garlic in a mortar and pestle to form a paste before mixing in the other Dressing ingredients.
But don’t worry if you don’t have a mortar and pestle – you can finely mince the ingredients then shake the Dressing up in a jar!
The Dressing is the key
Spice I Am is said to be one of THE best Thai restaurants outside of Thailand. Everything I have tried from the cookbook is just so incredible, a step up from the run-of-the-mill Thai takeouts.
I adapted the dressing recipe a wee bit because I must admit I found the original recipe a little too strong flavored, which is saying something for me because I really like strong flavours! But the base recipe is the same.
Hope you enjoy! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
This recipe features in my debut cookbook Dinner. The book is mostly new recipes, but this is a reader favourite included by popular demand!
Thai Beef Salad
- 1/2 tsp birds eye or Thai Chilli , deseeded and finely minced (Note 1)
- 1/4 tsp finely minced garlic (1/2 small clove)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro/coriander stems
- 2 1/4 tsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (or canola or vegetable oil)
- 1 small pinch cooking / kosher salt
- 7 – 8 oz / 200 – 250 g good quality beef steak – sirloin , at room temperature (Note 2)
- 1 tbsp oil (vegetable, peanut or canola oil)
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 heaped cups mixed lettuce leaves
- 10 cherry tomatoes , halved
- 1/4 small red onion , very finely sliced
- 1/2 cucumber (optional deseed) , cut horizontally then cut into slices (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/4 cup cilantro/coriander leaves , lightly packed
- 1/4 cup mint leaves , lightly packed
- 1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts , roasted, unsalted
- Extra cilantro/coriander and mint leaves
- Place the birds eye chili, garlic, cilantro stems and a small pinch of salt into a mortar and pestle. Grind until a smooth paste forms.
- Add the remaining Dressing ingredients. Adjust sugar, lime juice and fish sauce to taste. Set aside.
- Alternative: Finely mince garlic, coriander and chilli. Use side of knife to smear into paste on cutting board, then shake in jar with remaining ingredients.
- Preheat a skillet over high heat until screaming hot and smoking.
- Drizzle the beef with 1/2 tbsp of oil on both sides, then sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the beef to your liking (Note 2).
- Cook times: for steak 2cm / 4/5” thick, 2 min on each side for medium rare (until internal temp is 52°C/125°F) OR 2 1/2 min each side for medium (internal temp 57°C/135°F).
- Remove the beef from the skillet onto a plate. Loosely tent with foil and set aside for 10 minutes to rest.
- Place lettuce in a bowl, drizzle with 1 tbsp Dressing and toss.
- Slice the beef thinly against the grain (Note 2) and place in a bowl with the remaining Salad ingredients. Dress with most remaining Dressing and toss gently.
- Pile dressed lettuce onto plate(s), pile over beef and other salad ingredients.
- Sprinkle with peanuts and garnish with extra cilantro/coriander and mint leaves if using, drizzle with remaining Dressing. Serve immediately!
Originally published July 2015. Updated August 2019 with new writing, new photos, brand new video, step photos and most importantly, Life of Dozer section added!
Life of Dozer
Look what I brought back from Vietnam for him……… Toddler size fits him perfectly!