Thai waterfall beef salad (neua nam tok)
- July 2020
- Serves 4 as part of a meal
- Hands-on time 30 min, plus marinating
This Thai waterfall beef salad dish comes from Isaan in northeastern Thailand. You can replace the beef with grilled fish if you like and, while it’s in no way traditional, it can even be made with Morecambe Bay brown shrimp.
- 3.8g fat (1.5g saturated)
- 5.5g (2.1g sugars)
- 350g grass-fed British rump steak
- 2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
- 1 lemongrass stalk, bashed, outer leaves removed, very finely sliced (optional)
- 2 tsp ground roasted chillies (see Know How) or hot chilli powder
- 4-6 Thai shallots – or see Tips
- Large handful fresh mint leaves, torn, plus extra sprigs to serve
- Large handful fresh coriander, torn
- 1 tbsp toasted ground rice, plus extra to serve (see Know How)
- Chunks lettuce or white cabbage (or both) to serve
You’ll also need…
- A barbecue grill or a heavy-based griddle pan
- Put the steak in a non-metallic bowl or dish with 1 tbsp fish sauce, then set aside at room temperature to marinate for about 20 minutes.
- Heat a barbecue grill or griddle pan until it’s searing hot, then cook the steak for 2 minutes on each side (for rare) or a little longer on each side if you prefer it medium or well done. Once it’s cooked to your liking, transfer the steak to a plate and set aside to rest while you make the dressing.
- In a small saucepan, heat the stock or water, lemongrass (if using), remaining 1 tbsp fish sauce and ground chillies or chilli powder until just below boiling point.
- While the sauce is heating up, slice the meat into diagonal strips. Once the sauce is up to temperature, add the meat and shallots, then stir quickly to coat everything in the dressing. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the lime juice, mint leaves, coriander and toasted ground rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking – it should be hot, sour and salty
- Transfer the beef mixture to a plate and serve scattered with some extra ground toasted rice and extra mint sprigs, with the lettuce and/or cabbage, and with lime wedges on the side.
You’re looking for a sour, salty, spicy, herbal balance – all those wonderful spiky northeastern Thai flavours people love. Feel free to play around with the seasonings the second time around. If you can’t find Thai shallots, use 1 large banana shallot, 2 small regular shallots or 2 spring onions instead.
You can buy ground toasted rice in Asian supermarkets, but it’s easy to make your own. Take a large handful of uncooked sticky rice (or Thai jasmine rice) and put it in a dry wok or frying pan over a low heat. Toast the rice, moving it all the time, until it smells nutty and has turned a dark golden brown. Grind it in a spice or coffee grinder, or in a pestle and mortar. Store in a jar and use as required. It has an unusual, nutty flavour. Ground roasted chillies are a staple seasoning in Thai salads, soups and curries. Buy them in Asian supermarkets or at Thai food shop (which sells Raitip ground chilli), or use an equal quantity of hot chilli powder.
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