The condo complex we live in here in Atlanta has a very nice public space with well-maintained grills for their tenants to entertain. For the last couple of weeks, with the temperatures reaching to almost 100 F degrees, we found ourselves looking for light dinner dishes than warm and filling ones.
What is better than a simple salad with grilled meat and fresh herbs? This refreshing and easy-to-make Spicy Thai Beef Salad is just that: the easiest summer salad recipe that you can serve on a hot summer evening.
How To Make Thai Beef Salad
The recipe has three folds:
First, you make the dressing. The original Thai Salad dressing recipe that you would find in cookbooks have a few ingredients that you might not have in your pantry. But thanks to folks over at the America’s Test Kitchen, I learned that they are easy to replicate with a closer look at a few ingredients in your pantry. I will talk about that in a minute.
Second, you grill the steak. There are ther important things here: (1) Make sure to pat try the steak with paper towels so that you will get a good sear out of it, (2) Season it well. I used 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper. and (3) Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing it. This will allow the juices in the steak to stay inside and you will end up with a juicier cut of meat.
Lastly, you prep the salad ingredients. I think the most refreshing part of this Asian Steak Salad comes from a whopping 3 cups of fresh mint and cilantro leaves. It is a little bit of work to rinse, spin dry, and tear all the leaves, but it is totally worth it. You can assemble the salad by mixing together sliced cucumber, shallots, and herbs. Then add them into the meat and marinade and give it large toss to combine. To give it a little bit of color, I also added a quarter cup of pickled red onions that I usually keep in my fridge. Though it is optional.
Thai Salad Dressing Recipe
Unless you cook Thai food regularly and have a pantry filled with those hard to pronounce Thai ingredients, you might have felt intimidated with the ingredients list in some Thai food recipes. Most of them could be hard to find in regular supermarkets and even if you could find them it might be hard to justify the purchase for a recipe you would be making once or twice. But did you know that you could replicate some of those ingredients with what you already have in your pantry?
It is likely that you might not have the two ingredients, dried Thai chili powder and toasted rice powder (a.k.a Khao Khua), used in the Thai Beef Marinade used in this salad in your pantry. However, thanks to folks over at the America’s Test Kitchen, I learned that they are easy to replicate with a closer look at a few ingredients in your pantry.
They found out that to make a good replica for Thai chili all you need to do is to toast a teaspoon sweet paprika with a teaspoon cayenne pepper in a dry skillet until fragrant (for a minute or so). And to replicate the rice powder, you can toast a tablespoon of long-grain white rice in an empty skillet until golden brown, let it cool, and grind using a spice grinder (or a mini food processor or a pestle and mortar).
In terms of meat, this Spicy Thai Beef Salad recipe uses flank steak, which is not only an inexpensive cut of meat, but also one that is the most flavorful when grilled. The best part of it is that you do not need to marinade the meat in advance. Instead, you do the marinating after the meat is grilled and sliced in a quick marinade made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, Thai chili powder, rice powder, and water. This marinade also happens to be the dressing for the salad.
It might be hard to balance all the dreamy hot-sour-salt-sweet flavors of Thai cooking, but with this Thai Beef Salad recipe, it couldn’t be easier. I can’t imagine a better salad that is as refreshing and flavorful as this one. Whether you serve it as a meal just by itself or as a part of your outdoor dinner party menu, I know that your family and guests will be pleased.
If you liked this recipe, you might also like:
30-Minute Thai Lemongrass Chicken – Foolproof Living ~ Thai Inspired Coconut Milk Mussels with Ginger, Garlic and Lemongrass Recipe – Boulder Locavore Sweet Potato ‘Noodle’ Pad Thai – Foolproof Living ~ Thai Cashew Chicken Salad – Lemons for Lulu ~ Slow Cooker Thai Beef Curry – Foolproof Living
Spicy Thai Beef Salad
To make the dressing:
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon white rice
- 3 tablespoons 2 limes lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons of water
- ½ teaspoon sugar
For the salad:
- 1 ½ lbs flank steak trimmed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 4 shallots thinly sliced
- ¼ cup pickled onions optional
- 1 Thai chili stemmed and sliced (optional)
- 1 ½ cups fresh mint leaves rinsed and torn
- 1 ½ cups fresh cilantro leaves rinsed and torn
- 1 seedless English cucumber sliced
- Place paprika and cayenne pepper in a small skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, in medium heat until fragrant, 1 minute or so. Transfer it to a small bowl.
- Return the now-empty skillet back to medium-high heat and add rice. Toast, stirring frequently, until golden browned, 3-4 minutes. This happens pretty suddenly so keep a very close eye on it. Transfer to a small bowl and let it cool. When cooled, grind rice in a spice grinder (or a mini food processor or a mortar and pestle) until it resembles fine meal. Set aside.
- To make the dressing: Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, water, sugar, and ½ teaspoon of the paprika and cayenne mixture in a large bowl. Set aside.
- For the meat: Using a paper towel, pat-dry both sides of the steak. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Turn all burners of your grill on high, cover and open lid vent completely. Heat until hot, about 5 minutes.
- Place steak over on the hot part of the grill and cook until beginning to char, 5-6 minutes. Flip steak and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes or it registers 125 degrees when the middle part of the steak is inserted with an instant thermometer.
- Transfer the meat onto a cutting board, cover it with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice meat in ¼ inch slices, against the grain. Transfer the slices of meat into the bowl with the fish sauce mixture. Set aside.
- To assemble the salad: Add the shallots, pickled onion (if using), half of the powdered rice, Thai chili, mint, cilantro, and cucumbers in to the bowl with the meat. Gently toss to combine.
- Serve with the rest of the rice powder on the side.
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This recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.
This post was originally published on July of 2016. It has been updated on July, 2018 with some new photos and helpful information.