Spicy Beef Salad


This Thai classic is so easy to put together. Look for balance with the Nam Jim dressing... if you like it really hot, dial up the other flavours so you get the heat with complexity. Most importantly, keep this very fresh tasting.


  • 200 g (7 oz) beef fillet
  • 1 small Spanish onion, finely sliced
  • 1 small handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1 small butter lettuce, leaves separated
  • a pinch of ground roast rice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful of Thai basil leaves, finely shredded


  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (jaggery)
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil


  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer leaves removed, chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 small wild green chillies, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • juice of 3 limes


To make the marinade, mix together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Add the beef and refrigerate overnight to marinate. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before cooking.

To make the dressing, pound the lemongrass, chillies, garlic and sugar in a mortar with a pestle to form a fine paste. Mix the fish sauce and lime juice together and taste for balance.

Heat a grill or a barbecue to hot, and cook the beef for about 2 minutes on each side until it forms a good even crust. Remove from the heat and rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Slice the beef thickly across the grain.

Toss the beef, onion and coriander leaves with some of the dressing. Arrange the lettuce and beef on a serving plate and drizzle with any remaining dressing. Sprinkle with the ground roast rice, give it a good grind of black pepper and top with the shredded Thai basil.