The tantalizing flavors of Thai food are a symphony for the senses. Exotic ingredients such as lemongrass, tamarind, and palm sugar make for a spectacular flavor profile. Today I bring you Thai beef salad with peanut lime dressing. I made it for my family for Sunday night dinner two weeks ago, and it was a big hit. There was even a little left over for my husband to take in his lunch the next day.
One thing I find interesting is the many variations of this salad depending on the part of the country. Regional variety is an aspect of ethnic cuisine that I find so seductive, so appealing. Variety after all is the spice of life.
On the whole Thai cuisine is known for its spicy characteristics, I mean, “reach for the water and tissues spicy.” Any time I’ve gone to a Thai restaurant the server always asks: ” Would you like American, Mexican, or Thai spicy?” I always opt for the middle ground, and I am always glad for that neutral decision. My husband on the other hand goes for the Thai spicy option.
I think my version for Thai beef salad with peanut lime dressing is just spicy enough. However, if you don’t think it packs enough heat, feel free to pile it on. Also make ingredient adjustments if you are unable to find some of the ingredients, like tamarind paste.
The chili garlic paste is what gives this dish its characteristic “kick” if you will. It’s an ingredient popular throughout Southeast Asia, and one that I am never without.
Now, what greens to use is totally up to you. I for one like my greens to be, well, green, so I use green leaf lettuce. For me iceberg lettuce is totally out!
Finally, I want to take a minute to talk about a couple of the other key ingredients in Thai beef salad with peanut lime dressing: palm sugar, and fish sauce. Palm sugar is a bit darker than brown sugar, and looser also. it’s taste has hints of butterscotch and caramel. Fish sauce is made from salted fermented fish and used as a condiment as well as a seasoning.
Thai Beef Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing
A delightfully tangy, and crunchy salad recipe that is a perfect summer dish. Make it any weeknight or for a Sunday dinner on the deck.
- 1 head green leaf lettuce cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup cabbage finely shredded
- 10 leaves mint fresh
- 8 leaves Thai basil
- 1 carrot shredded
- 3 Tbsp cilantro chopped
- 1/2 red onion sliced
To marinate the beef:
Place flank steak in a glass dish.
In a small bowl place all the ingredients and whisk them together until combined thoroughly. Pour the marinade over both sides of the meat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
To prepare the dressing:
In a small bowl place the vegetable oil, lime juice, fish sauce and rice vinegar and whisk to combine. Next, stir in the garlic sauce, tamarind paste and palm sugar. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To cook the beef:
Preheat the grill to high, temperature should be about 500' F. Put the meat on indirect heat. For nice grill marks grill for about 4 minutes. Give it a 1/4 turn and grill for another 4 minutes. Flip it over and repeat. For this salad I like the meat to be medium well, which is about 160'-170'F. Place the meat on a cutting board, and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.
To assemble the salad:
Place chopped green leaf lettuce on a tray, and sprinkle in cabbage, mint, Thai basil, carrot, cilantro and red onion. Place the cut beef on top, and sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds, and chopped peanuts.
Serve with dressing.