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. (PS No trip to the Asian store required!)
I’m probably completely biased, but I think that Asian salads are the best in the world. Wait, hang on. You know what? I don’t think I’ve shared a single Japanese salad recipe. Chinese Chicken Salad, Vietnamese Shrimp/Prawn Noodle Salad and modern Asian salads. But not a single Japanese one!
Hmm. I’d better do something about that before my mother catches on… 😉
The reason I love Asian salads so much is because they are interesting and the dressings are so good. The chances of me ordering a salad at any restaurant other than an Asian one is almost zero. However, at Asian restaurants, there is a prospect of it happening!!
My favourite part is the zingy, fresh, strong flavoured dressings used in Asian salads. No mayo, no cream, no cheese. Just pure fresh flavours – often with plenty of chili in it. Fresh heat. I love it!
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 really great cut of beef costs $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!!!!!
The dressing for this salad is based on a recipe by Suet Saenkham, the genius Thai native behind the critically acclaimed Spice I Am restaurants in Sydney. I rattled on about how obsessed I am with both his restaurants and his new cookbook when I shared a Pad Thai recipe. Suffice to say that Spice I Am is said to be THE best Thai restaurant 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. (Try his Pad Thai that I shared and you’ll be a convert!).
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.
Key tip I learnt: Grinding coriander stems before mixing into the dressing. This is GOLD. It makes all the difference. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, just finely chop it, as fine as you can and mix it through the dressing.
Hope you enjoy! – Nagi x
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp sliced birds eye chili (or any other spicy chili - adjust amount to taste)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp cilantro/coriander stems , chopped
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp grape seed oil (or canola or vegetable oil)
- 7 - 8 oz / 200 - 250 g good quality beef steak - sirloin , porterhouse, scotch fillet or rump steak (the best quality you can afford), at room temperature
- 1/2 tbsp oil (vegetable, peanut or canola oil)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups mixed lettuce leaves
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes , halved
- 1/4 small red onion (spanish onion), very finely sliced
- 1/2 cucumber , 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 tbsp peanuts , roughly chopped
- 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.
Drizzle the beef with 1/2 tbsp of oil on both sides, then sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Preheat a skillet over high heat until screaming hot and smoking.
Cook the beef to your liking. (Note 1) I like mine rare for this salad.
Remove the beef from the skillet onto a plate. Loosely tent with foil and set aside for 10 minutes to rest.
Slice the beef thinly against the grain (Note 2) and place in a bowl with the remaining Salad ingredients.
Pour over Dressing and toss gently.
Pile the salad onto a plate. Sprinkle with peanuts and garnish with extra cilantro/coriander and mint leaves if using.
1. On a screaming hot skillet or BBQ, I cook a 2cm / 4/5" thick steak (at room temperature) for 2 minutes on each side for rare, or 2 minutes 30 seconds on each side for medium rare or 3 minutes on each side for medium. My biggest fear is overcooking an expensive piece of beef. Remember: the steak will continue cooking when resting! And remember: you can cook a steak a bit more if needed but you can't UNCOOK steak!
2. Cutting the beef against the grain produces the most tender slices. To do this, look at the piece of steak and you will notice that most of the fibres are going in one direction. Turn the steak so the fibres are going left to right directly in front of you. Then cut across the fibres - i.e. 90 degrees perpendicular to the direction of the fibres.
3. OPTIONAL EXTRAS: For a truly authentic experience, toss through 1 tbsp of very VERY finely sliced lemongrass (white part only), and 2 fresh kaffir lime leaves very VERY finely julienned.
4. This recipe is adapted from the Spice I Am cookbook by Suet Saenkham, the genius behind the Spice I Am restaurants in Sydney, Australia, which are arguably the BEST Thai restaurants in the world outside of Thailand!
5. Nutrition per serving assuming 2 servings, made using sirloin beef.