To me, this Thai Beef Salad (Yum Nuea) is a salad for all seasons! It’s a veritable feast of flavours, all working in synergy, yet boldly making their presence felt with each tantalising bite – lemongrass, lime, coriander, chillies and the ubiquitous fish sauce!
To get the best out of this salad, you need a good cut of meat, sirloin steak is perfect for it, cooked medium rare is best. It’s just a case of mixing the beef with the rest of the salad ingredients, including the dressing with a final topping of toasted rice or peanuts, I prefer to go the peanut route.
The actual salad mix is really up to the cook but tomatoes, cucumbers, spring onions and fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) are a must, and the dressing also varies from household to household. I don’t have a set mix either, sometimes going with vinegar, at other times with lime juice, sometimes adding ginger and galangal, at other times, not. You get the picture!
You can serve this while the beef is still warm or completely cool, same goes with the dressing. This of course means that you can prepare the beef and dressing separately, hours in advance, then put it together at the last minute.
Serve this salad as an accompaniment to any other main dish like, Pad Thai, Thai Green Curry and Rice or it can even serve as a light meal on its own, perfect for lunch, especially for those on a low carb diet!
Check out the Thai page for more delicious recipes!
A quick note on palm sugar
Palm sugar is made from the sap of certain palm trees and is a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine generally. It is a light brown in colour and has a touch of caramel about it. It should be readily available at Oriental stores and most certainly in supermarkets in large cities. And most certainly Amazon here in the UK.
Many people suggest using molasses as a substitute, but I personally think that molasses are far too strong in flavour for the subtlety of palm sugar. Light brown soft sugar is a better bet but I always advise people to just substitute it with regular, old white sugar.
It is known by various names in the countries they are used in. Some egs:
India – Jaggery
Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia – gula melaka, gulah merah (gula is sugar, melaka is Malacca, merah is red)
Thailand – nam tan pipPrint
- 450 g (1 lb) sirloin steak
- 2 spring onions (scallions), sliced thinly, diagonally
- half a cucumber, halved lengthwise, then sliced
- 2 tomatoes, seeds removed and sliced in thin wedges
- 2 handfuls of any salad leaves (cos, gem, lamb’s lettuce, etc)
- a handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 8 Thai Basil leaves, finely chopped (optional) or ordinary mint leaves
- 1 Tbsp toasted peanuts, or toasted rice powder, chopped semi fine – medium (optional)
Thai Beef Salad Dressing
- 2 Thai red chillies, finely sliced (more or less, to taste)
- 1 small garlic, crushed
- 3 Tbsp fish sauce
- 3 Tbsp lime juice or rice wine vinegar (ordinary clear vinegar will do too)
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 2 tsp palm sugar
Let’s cook the steak.
- Heat a griddle or frying pan on high heat with a little oil if needed, I don’t bother. When it is smoking hot, cook the steak for about 2 minutes on each side, turning it every 30 seconds or so. This is a very quick step. When done, take it out onto a plate and set aside to cool.
- Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 5 minutes.
- You are now ready to serve the salad. Warm or room temperature, your choice.
- When the steak is cool enough to handle (while the sauce is simmering), slice it thinly and place in a bowl.
- Add all the other salad ingredients, apart from the peanuts, and place in the bowl with the beef.
- Add the dressing and toss everything thoroughly.
- Dish out onto a serving platter, top with the peanuts and serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 4