Thai beef salad

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds


    as part of a Thai meal

Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

My mouth waters every time I think of this dish, with its crazy blend of hot chillies, sour lime juice, and fresh mint and coriander. Use the best beef you can find, and even the most unadventurous meat eater will be blown away. Serve with a platter of fresh raw vegetables in the centuries-old balance that makes Thai food so healthy and so lovable.


  • 1 tbsp jasmine rice
  • 2 dried red chillies (or ½ tsp chilli powder)
  • 500 g (1 lb) thick fillet steak
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 4 red shallots, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp mint leaves
  • 3 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 3 green (spring) onions, finely sliced


Heat a dry frypan, add rice and toast over medium heat until golden but not burnt. Grind rice in a clean coffee-grinder or pound to a powder and set aside.

Reheat frypan and add dried red chillies. Toast until they are smoky, then grind or pound to a powder, and set aside.

Grill or pan-fry the beef until well-marked outside, and rare to medium rare inside. Place in a bowl and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Dissolve sugar in lime juice and fish sauce. Mix ½ teaspoon of the ground roasted chilli powder (store the rest) with ground rice. Combine shallots, mint, coriander and green onions in a large bowl. Add lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Taste and adjust flavourings, until the salad is hot, sour, sweet and salty.

Slice the beef thinly. Toss beef and ground rice through the salad, with any cooking juices that have collected in the bowl. Pile high on a large platter and serve with a big salad of crunchy raw lettuces and cucumber, and a bowl of steamed jasmine rice.