Thai Beef SaladI adore this dish and so do all the blokes I’ve ever cooked it for, it’s definitely a ‘man appropriate salad’ and, if I do say so myself, it’s every bit as good as the salads I scoffed back on holiday in Thailand last year.

Generally I’m a massive fan of clean fresh Asian flavours, if you hadn’t gathered that already (there’s a few Asian recipes on this blog). The weather warmed up here in the Hawke’s Bay recently: Warm enough to get outside and fire up the BBQ to cook the steak!

Credit for part of this recipe must go to Cathie from Cathie’s Cuisine (who used to own a cooking school locally). I attended a few of Cathie’s cooking classes and one of the many things she taught me was to soak onions in cold water for at least 10 minutes before adding them to salads. This mellows out the flavour of the onions and takes ‘the bite out’. Apparently it’s a trick restaurants use all the time.  This is why cooking classes are such a good idea, even if you are a fairly competent cook. You can learn so much! You can search for local classes on CocuSocial if you are eager to become a better cook. Cathie also shared the marinade recipe for the steak: This takes the flavour to a whole new level.

As with all my recipes, feel free to improvise. I’ve used shredded cabbage in the place of lettuce. Added blanched green beans, left out the cucumber, added capsciums and spring onions. Make the most of vegetables that are in season.

Lunch idea: Why not chop extra veges, soak extra noodles and prepare some extra nuts/seeds? The recipe is designed to have a little dressing leftover…. I take all of these to work (in separate containers) along with a can of tuna or some chicken (e.g. A can of Chop Chop, some shredded chicken). All I do is assemble it at work the next day. Yum!

Ingredients (Serves four)

Steak & Marinade
4 pieces of steak (Porterhouse or scotch fillet works well)
1 tablespoon red curry paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp plain unflavoured oil (e.g. rice bran)

250g packet of rice vermicelli noodles (available in the Asian food section of most supermarkets)

4 large handfuls of loose mesculan lettuce leaves
2 tomatoes sliced into thin wedges (cherry tomatoes are great – if they aren’t hideously expensive)
1 medium sized telegraph cucumber, thinly sliced into half moons
1/2 red onion finely sliced, soaked in ice cold water for at least 10 minutes, then drained and dried off
2 stalks of celery, finely sliced on the diagonal
1/2 large carrot, julienned (or cut into thin matchstick pieces)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
Sliced fresh chilli (optional!)

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (I use the Japanese stuff)
2 tablespoons water
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 kaffir lime leaf, finely shredded (optional but if you can – include it!)
1 small red chilli (or less, based on your preferences), finely diced

1/2 cashew nuts – Toasted (dry fry in a frying pan until golden)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (‘ “)
Extra coriander

  • Steak prep: Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl (red curry paste, soy, lime, oil). Smear all over both sides of the steak. Cover and place steak in the fridge to marinade for at least 2 hours, overnight is even better.
  • Noodles: Place vermicelli noodles in a large heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for four minutes, or until just soft. Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Drain again. Set aside in the sieve to dry out a little (make sure all the excess water is out before the ‘plate up’ stage).
  • Dressing: Place all dressing ingredients together in a clean jar. Shake the heck out of it.
  • Steak: Either on a BBQ or in a frying pan cook the steak for 3-4 minutes per side (for medium, longer as per your preferences).  Remove from the heat and place on a clean plate. Cover steak in tin foil and let the steak rest for at least five minutes before slicing across the grain.
  • Salad: While the steak is resting place all salad ingredients together, along with the vermicelli noodles, in a large bowl. Right before you are ready to plate up, add 1/4 of the dressing and mix it through the salad (do not do this any sooner than dish up time as the lettuce will go soggy!) Taste: Does it need more dressing? Add more as needed.
  • Plate up!  Divide the salad/noodle concoction across four plates, top with sliced steak. Drizzle more of the dressing across the steak and over the salad. Sprinkle with toasted cashew nuts and sesame seeds and some extra coriander for garnish.
Dressing: Biff it all in a clean jar and give it a good shake
Dressing: Biff it all in a clean jar and give it a good shake
Steak, cooked to perfection (if I do say so myself)
Steak, cooked to perfection (if I do say so myself)
A close up of deliciousness
A close up of deliciousness