I love Thai food – something about the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and sour in Thai dishes makes me crave them, but I usually can’t afford to go out and get it. With its complex flavors, I never though Thai food could be easy to put together, but the Thai Beef Salad on page 203 of Aloha Days Hula Nights, in the Entrees – Beef section, changed my mind! The piping hot steak, cool salad greens, and spicy-sweet citrus dressing tasted as good as any dish I’ve had in an actual Thai restaurant. This recipe will quickly become a weekly meal in my house!
The dressing is a delicious and simple blend of lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, garlic, chili paste, and lemongrass, which is poured over the salad greens and the seared steak, then topped with fresh cilantro and mint. I had no idea Thai cooking could be so easy! I want to keep a bottle of this dressing in my fridge at all times – it was refreshing and light.
I substituted my favorite garlic paste and my bottled Sriracha, which is a Thai hot chili sauce (often used by big-name chefs as a secret ingredient). I also used my local Da Kine meat rub, which has big chunks of salt, pepper, ginger, and garlic, and is so ono (delicious). I even used my refrigerated tubes of lemongrass and cilantro, which I keep on hand instead of fresh herbs because they keep so much longer. All the substitutions, and it still tasted great! You will love this salad, and feel good about making take-out at home!
Delicious and healthy, and another cuisine under my belt!
Thai Beef Salad
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon chili paste
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 1 pound flank steak
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Combine lime juice, sugar, water, fish sauce, garlic, and chili paste in a bowl with a whisk, blending well. Thinly slice lemongrass and stir into dressing. Set aside.
Prepare grill or broiler. Sprinkle both side of steak with a little salt and pepper. Place on hot grill rack. Cook 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.
Wash and pat dry lettuce. Tear into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large salad bowl. Add tomatoes. Separate onion slices into rings and scatter across salad. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Cut slices into 2-inch pieces and add to salad. Sprinkle with mint and cilantro. Add to dressing, toss to coat, and serve.
To make ahead, prepare dressing; cook and slice meat; wash and pat dry lettuce; halve tomatoes; slice onion; chop herbs; but store everything separately. Assemble just before serving.
Buy the cookbook at www.juniorleagueofhonolulu.org (click the eStore tab). All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.