This Thai Beef Salad is tangy, spicy and refreshing. Top it with toasted rice powder for added crunch.
The weather is getting warmer (finally!) and summer is upon us. When the temperatures start going up, I always find myself leaning more towards salads and grilled dishes, rather than the heavy comfort foods of winter. This Thai Beef Salad is loaded with bright, tangy flavors – Citrus and fresh herbs with a bit of sweetness to balance it all out. Top it all off with a steak that’s been cooked medium rare and let its juices enhance the taste even more.
There are a couple more ingredients hiding in the background that up the ante even more. #1 is fish sauce – As I warned you before, don’t be scared of the fish sauce – It can smell quite pungent out of the bottle, but once it gets mixed with the other ingredients you won’t even know it’s there. It just gives a nutty, salty and SO YUMMY characteristic to the dish. #2 is toasted rice powder. I like to think of the rice powder as my Thai alternative to croutons. It gives an amazing crunch to your finished salad. It’s also got a nice nutty, creamy flavor. I toast my rice kernels in a small sauté pan and then grind them up in a mortar & pestle. You could also use a coffee grinder. Don’t skip the rice powder, I guarantee it’s worth the extra little effort!
This salad is one that I find myself constantly ordering when out to eat at thai restaurants. I also REALLY enjoy Kee Mao (drunken noodles) and the classic Pad Thai. I order thai food A LOT – It’s my go-to workday lunch when there aren’t any leftovers around. I’ve got to say though, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to thai food. I usually order medium and end up regretting it, or scarfing down WAY too much rice to absorb the spiciness. That’s one benefit to making the dish at home, taste the dressing as you go and add more or less jalapeno or red pepper flakes to suit your tates. This is also a great time to add more or lime juice, sugar, or fish sauce – You’re looking for the perfect balance of spicy, salty, sweet. When you hit that sweet spot, you’ll know!
Thai Beef Salad
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 red or green jalapeno
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp . fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp . minced lemongrass remove the tough outer leaves and slice the tender white core
- 1 1/4 tsp . light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp . red chile flakes
- 1/2 tbsp . vegetable oil
- 1- inch -thick New York strip steak 9 to 10 oz.
- 2 medium shallots thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp . roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- 2 tbsp . uncooked rice preferably sticky rice
- Lettuce of your choosing
- Cherry tomatoes halved
Mince the garlic and one of the chile halves and place in a small bowl. Slice the remaining chile half into thin rings and add it to the bowl, along with the lime juice, fish sauce, lemongrass, brown sugar, and red chile flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings with additional lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, if needed. Stir well and set aside.
Put rice in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the grains are toasted and golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and then grind into a coarse powder in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Sear the steak until it is well browned on one side, 5 to 6 min. Flip and cook until the second side is dark brown and the meat is medium rare, another 5 to 6 min. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 min. Slice the steak thinly and then cut into bite-size pieces.
In a medium bowl, combine the beef (and any accumulated juices), shallots, mint, and cilantro. Stir the dressing and pour it on top. Toss gently. Add the ground toasted rice, and toss.
- Rieslings pair great with spicy dishes. Not just because of its mouthwatering acidity or intense fruit, but because it comes in so many varying degrees of sweetness that you can almost always find a Riesling that will go with your meal. I paired my meal with a Poet’s Leap Riesling ($20) that we picked up on our recent trip to Long Shadows in Walla Walla, Washington.
- A Viogner or dry Rosé would also be great with this dish.