Fat Gangnam Boy Hero: from Kimchi Smoke BBQ
Eating in Barcelona: Part V: Hisop for lunch and Mercat Del Ninot

Spicy: Thai Beef Salad

Thai beef salad2

Thai salads come together quickly, often require no special ingredients beyond what your supermarket carries, and pack a wallop of palate punching flavor. And for cheap. Grilled Thai beef salad illustrates this perfectly.

It was a hot, lazy, sunny day yesterday. Perfect weather for cooking and eating something bright and and spicy and fresh. We ran out to the store to pick up the few ingredients that we didn't have on hand for this salad. Just the beef, actually.

The rest of the stuff came from the garden or are staples. On this particular day at least.

The beef, flank steak in this case, doesn't need to be marinated. But I do like to marinate it in a bit of lime juice and fish sauce and brown sugar. The brown sugar will aid in the formation of the grill marks, and the fish sauce brings flavor and salt. I suppose the lime juice does something. Oh, and lime juice fish sauce and sugar are the dressing for the salad. Harmony, ya know?

After an hour of marinating on the counter, I threw the steak on a very hot grill. The hotter the better I think for this type of deal. Let it rest, sliced it across the grain, and laid it out over the already prepared and dressed salad.

The salad had a base of bibb lettuce, shallots, heirloom tomato, and a butt load of Thai basil and mint. Plop the steak on top, top with ground toasted rice, some additional dressing, and cilantro. The more herbs the better. I try to make this salad very herb heavy, so it almost seems like an herb salad. The ground toasted rice adds great texture and a nuttiness. I wouldn't leave this out.

I also made some Thai chili condiment to add the heat for those who wanted it. I use a lot. It's crazy good stuff.

  Thai beef salad_edited-1

This meal takes minutes to make, requires no cooking other than the steak, and will surely impress your friends and family.


Thai Beef Salad recipe. Serves 4.

1 flank steak (1.5-2 lbs)


  • 1 head or more of bibb lettuce
  • 3-4 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 2 fistfuls of Thai basil
  • 1 fistful of mint
  • 1 heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced longways thinly if you want to be fancy, or just sliced short-ways
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 2 T ground toasted rice (a bit of white rice in a dry saute pan, toss over medium heat until golden brown, and then grind)


  • ½ C fish sauce (I use Three Crabs brand)
  • ½ C fresh lime juice (only use juice from limes, not bottles)
  • 1 T brown sugar
    Feel free to adjust this dressing to your preference. It should be sour, salty, and a little sweet.

Thai chili condiment for heat.

The dead-simple process:

  • Marinate the steak in half or slightly less of the dressing. 1 hour is fine. Or just skip this step.
  • Grill the steak (salt it if you didn't marinate) over a hot fire or grill until barely m/r. Use a thermometer to judge the temp. It's just easier. I pull off at 125, max, for m/r.
  • While the steak is resting, lay out the salad stuff on a platter.
  • Slice the steak thinly across the grain.
  • Dress the salad and plop the steak on top.
  • Spoon a bit more dressing over the beef.
  • Sprinkle ground rice over the dish and garnish with cilantro and extra herbs.