It’s already March and before you know it, summer will be right around the corner. Soon, you’ll be ditching your Canada Goose and replacing your leather boots for your open-toed sandals. Trying to find healthy and delicious recipes for that red polka-dot bikini? Get bikini bod ready with our version of a Thai Grilled Beef Salad and check out more nutritious quick, easy, and healthy options in Lucky Rice: Stories and Recipes from Night Markets, Feasts, and Family Tables.
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Thai Grilled Beef Salad “Yam Neua Yang”
Grilled beef salad is usually a crowd-pleaser, and this Thai version hits all the high notes: smoky, beefy, spicy, herbal, sweet, salty, citrusy. I like to toss in copious amounts of mint, basil, and cilantro to create a robust salad that almost competes with the meat. Flank steak, grilled to medium-rare and then thinly sliced, works well for meatiness and uniformity. Best of all, everything is served at room temperature, so this dish is perfect for a summer potluck.
3 tablespoons fish sauce for the marinade, plus 6 tablespoons fish sauce for the dressing
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, smashed, plus 4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 pounds flank steak
2 medium cucumbers, halved, seeded, and sliced into half-moons
2 medium tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems, plus more for garnish (optional)
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves and stems
Sea salt, to taste
1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and finely sliced
4 dried Thai bird’s-eye chiles, coarsely torn, or 1 teaspoon Thai roasted chili paste
1 tablespoon Sriracha, or to taste (optional)
In a small bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons of fish sauce with 1 tablespoon of lime juice and smashed garlic. Place the flank steak in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade evenly over it. Cover, and marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, until the meat comes to room temperature.
Prepare a hot grill, or preheat a stovetop grill pan. Remove the meat from the marinade, and grill it for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until it’s well seared on the outside and firm to the touch, but still very pink in the center. Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.
While the meat rests, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, basil, cilantro, and mint in a medium bowl. Toss with a sprinkling of sea salt to draw out the liquid. Discard the liquid.
In a separate bowl, combine the remaining lime juice and the fish sauce, the chopped garlic, lemongrass, chiles, and Sriracha if using.
To serve, slice the meat diagonally across the grain into 1⁄2-inch- thick slices. Just before serving, gently toss the meat and vegetables with the dressing. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired, and serve at once.