Thai Beef Salad (Yum Nuea)

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

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!

thai beef salad

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 pip

Now, shall we get our aprons on?

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

Thai Beef Salad (Yum Nuea)

13 minute recipe Thai Beef Salad recipe, known as Yum Nuea in Thai. Served with a spicy, tangy dressing.
5 from 6 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 207kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 450 g sirloin steak
  • 2 spring onions scallions, sliced thinly, diagonally
  • ½ 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.


Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 1135mg | Potassium: 728mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 891IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg
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21 thoughts on “Thai Beef Salad (Yum Nuea)”

  1. This looks really good. I would love to give it a try soon. I’m always looking for healthier food options.

  2. Bernadette Callahan

    This would be perfect for nights when we dont want anything too heavy and dense. Something for hot summer nights.

  3. Hannah Marie

    This looks so delicious. I always look for a healthy recipe or salads and I this will surely be on my list!

  4. Elizabeth O.

    It looks really good. I don’t eat beef so I might replace this one with chicken or fish. I’m sure it’s going to taste delightful either way, with all the flavors that are part of this recipe.

  5. It looks amazing, I have to try too, love all the ingredients I have never though to mix them. Regards

    1. Hi Trisha, thanks for bringing that up. I really need to revisit all these old posts and update! I’ve changed caster sugar to white. Caster sugar is just the superfine (not powder/icing) sugar we get here in the UK. White granulated sugar works fine.
      I’ve also added an explanation for palm sugar at the end of the post. That’ll be going on to my Ingredients page as soon as I take a picture!
      Thanks again. x

  6. This sounds so good! Steak salad is one of my all-time favourite lunches and I love the idea of combining it with a thai dressing.

  7. Yeah, I am totally making this salad this weekend. Putting the ingredients on my shopping list now….

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