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Thai Beef Salad with Mint & Cilantro

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Serves two as a first course or a light main course, served with rice.

Typically, Thai salads are served with cabbage leaves or greens and enjoyed either as a snack or as a component of a larger meal. But the beef salad here is so quick to make that it would be a natural for a weeknight supper, served alongside a bowl of steaming jasmine rice.

For the dressing:
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 fresh red hot chile (like a red jalapeño), stemmed, cut in half crosswise (not seeded)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs. very thinly sliced lemongrass (from 2 stalks; remove the tough outer leaves and slice the tender white core)
  • 1-1/4 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
For the steak:
  • 1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1-inch-thick beef strip steak (also called New York strip), 9 to 10 oz.
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot rings (from about 2 medium shallots)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbs. roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/2 to 1 Tbs. ground toasted rice
  • Iceberg lettuce leaves for serving
Tip:
For ground toasted rice, put 2 Tbs. uncooked rice (preferably sticky rice) in a small, dry frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the grains are toasted and golden, about 10 min. (the rice may smoke; use your exhaust fan). Let cool for a few minutes and then grind into a coarse powder in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
Make the dressing:

Using a chef’s knife, mince the garlic and one of the chile halves and then scrape them together against the cutting board with the flat side of the knife until they make a coarse paste (you can also do this in a mortar and pestle). Put the paste in a small bowl. Slice the remaining chile half into thin rings and add it to the paste, along with the lime juice, fish sauce, lemongrass, brown sugar, and red chile flakes. Stir well and set aside.

Cook the steak:

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Sear the steak until it is well browned on one side, 5 to 6 min. Flip and cook until the second side is dark brown and the meat is medium rare (touch the steak or cut into it to check), another 5 to 6 min. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 min. Slice the steak thinly and then cut into bite-size pieces.

In a medium bowl, combine the beef (and any accumulated juices), shallots, mint, and cilantro. Stir the dressing and pour it on top. Toss gently. Add the ground toasted rice, if using, and toss.

Transfer the beef to a platter and serve immediately with the lettuce leaves, or plate individual servings with a portion of beef cradled in a few lettuce leaves.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on two servings; Calories (kcal): 260; Fat (g): 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 90; Saturated Fat (g): 3; Protein (g): 31; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5; Carbohydrates (g): 11; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 1130; Cholesterol (mg): 65; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

We've been making Thai beef salads for over 25 years - this is our new go to recipe. So good, so easy, so fresh - what's not to love!

I love this recipe! I've made it several times and it just gets better. The toasted rice makes a difference. I always add extra peppers because we like it HOT!

Terrific recipe. And the finished product looks far more appetizing than the photograph. Skip the iceberg lettuce, however (a good general rule!). Served in small romaine leaves, this makes a terrific pass-around hors d'oeuvre for parties.

My husband and I love this dish and make it often. I usually double all the ingredients except the steak. It's delicious with the ground toasted rice. Easy to make and not much clean up if I grill the NY strips. I received a lesson in lemon grass from making this recipe repeatedly. (How to tell when it's fresh, how to cut it, etc...)

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