Thai beef salad
And some time back I revisited some of my old mini cook books (of course they would be mini), and found a recipe for Thai beef salad just sitting there all pretty, waiting to be cooked. With a few minor adjustments of course! I customized it to suit my taste buds, which is the beauty of this salad because you can customize it to suit yours. More beef? No problem! More salad? Pile it all in! More tangy? Add more lime juice! Slightly sweeter? Put in some brown sugar! More mint? Yes, please.
So here I am making it because the idea of chilled flank steak sounds so good right about now and I’m a little but curious on how this whole thing will go down. I know I have all the flavors that qualifies something as Thai. There’s mint, cilantro, fish sauce, peanuts and the garnishes in cute little match sticks that form the basis of a good spring roll. Speaking of spring rolls, why have I not made them yet? And on the topic of rolls there’s also those glorious egg rolls I love which I haven’t touched. And moving on to all things crispy, why oh why have I not done curry puffs, pakoras or samosas? I’m just sitting here drooling and writing about all this when I could be hustling and bustling in the kitchen. Soon!
Back to the recipe though, it’s pretty easy to toss everything together. Aside from grilling that flank steak and making those matchsticks carrots and cucumbers that is. The latter part was something I dreaded for so long. See recently I got myself a mandoline. Not the musical instrument type but the sharp hazardous to your fingers type, after watching a few YouTube videos on what I should be looking for to get julienne cuts.
There are a lot of ingredients, mainly garnishes, which is usually the case with Asian stuff. So please don’t run away! These garnishes serve a purpose besides looking pretty. They create a nice balance of crunch, flavor, texture, hot and cold contrasts and just a medley of flavors overall. But feel free to skip on whatever you can’t find. I give you the works for an ideal salad, but it is forgiving enough to leave out some ingredients.
The flank steak works better at medium rare but do it however you prefer your level of doneness. I slightly overcooked mine, so it’s a little medium. I’m still learning how to grill whole hunks of beef! You grill masters out there can go ahead and have one laugh on me and then move on to enjoy this. Also, I’ve said ‘a bunch’ somewhat ambiguously because you can adjust how much mint or cilantro you want depending on your tastes. I prefer mine with a lot more mint.
This salad is best served chilled and it’s all you really need for a quick snack or lunch, or dinner while it’s sweating buckets out there.
1 lb. flank steak
Salt and pepper to taste
6 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoon fish sauce
2 bird’s eye chilies, crushed / 1 red chili, sliced
6 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemongrass, minced
A bunch of mint leaves
A bunch of cilantro
1 garden cucumber, jullienned
1 carrot, julienned
10 oz. mixed salad leaves
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup peanuts, crushed