This is one of those recipes that I make fairly regularly but it has only recently dawned on me that I never published it here. This and my fajita recipe, which I make at least once a month and also need to share here. I started making one from Bill Granger’s Bill’s Basics, and then went on to use the recipe from Saba: The Cookbook. I’ve adapted and drawn from a few recipes over the years and now this is my version of Thai Beef Salad.
If you’ve never eaten Thai Beef Salad, you are in for a treat. This can be whipped up in no time. It is one of those dishes that is very light while being filling. It is full of fresh and zesty flavours. I haven’t gone too strong on the chilli but I like to add more on top to ramp up the heat. Taste and adjust to you own liking.
Useful tips & links:
- I make my dressing in a food processor but if you don’t have one just very finely chop all of the ingredients and whisk well together.
- Many recipes instruct you to marinate the beef in the dressing, I don’t do that here. If you are using a cheaper cut of steak it would be no harm to do that but a tender cut of beef does not need it. There is enough flavour in the dressing so you don’t need to infuse the beef beforehand.
- Most recipes call for Thai basil but as this can be difficult to get I have left it out. If you can get it, add a handful of the leaves.
- If you can’t get fresh or frozen lime leaves, don’t substitute with dried. Add the grated zest of half a lime instead.
- I don’t think carrots are in any way traditional but I like them to add sweetness.
- Serve the salad with rice noodles as in the picture above for a more substantial meal. Make sure you dress the noodles with some of the dressing while they are still warm to infuse the flavour. To be honest I like it without the noodles, but it depends on how hungry I am!
- I couldn’t decide whether to top with peanuts or crispy shallots for crunch, so I went with both. You can fry your own crispy shallots or you can buy them in Asian markets.
- For more beef salad ideas, have a look at my Cuban Mojo Beef Salad, my Warm Beef and Blue Cheese Salad or at Russell and Patrick’s Rare Roast Beef Salad.
Thai Beef Salad
Serves 2, more as a starter
- 400g of sirloin/striploin steak
- A large bunch of coriander, leaves picked
- 1 small red onion, finely sliced
- Some mint leaves
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- Cucumber, de-seeded and diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- A handful of roasted peanuts
- Crispy shallots
- Rice vermicelli noodles (optional)
For the dressing:
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2cm of fresh ginger
- 1 stalk of lemongrass, tough outer layer removed and chopped.
- 1 medium red chilli, plus more to garnish
- The juice of ½ a lime
- 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 1½ tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons of palm sugar or soft brown sugar
- 3 fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves
- The stalks from the coriander
- Take your steak out of the fridge to come up to room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. When you are ready to cook it, season with salt and pepper and fry to your liking. I like it seared on the outside until caramalised and medium inside. Allow the steak to rest for at least 5 minutes.
- Take the all of the ingredients for the dressing and put them into a food processor or blender. Blitz until smooth. Taste the dressing and adjust accordingly. You are looking for a nice balance of heat, saltiness, sweet and sour flavours.
- Steep the finely sliced red onions in the dressing, this will cook them slightly. Set aside while you cook the steak and finish the rest of the salad.
- If you are having noodles, cook them by putting them in a heatproof bowl and covering with boiling water. Once they are tender drain and rinse them.
- Finely slice the rested beef.
- Arrange the noodles, coriander and mint leaves on the plate, top with as much tomato, cucumber and carrots as you like. Dress with the onions and dressing. Put the beef slices on top and add a little more dressing. Top with sliced red chilli, the peanuts and/or shallots.