Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thai Steak Salad

This salad - redolent with ginger, lime, chile paste, peanuts, and other Thai flavors - is centered on herbs rather than lettuce, making it a great summer choice. I cooked and sliced Match beef to turn the salad into hearty entree portions, but baked tofu or marinated tempeh strips would probably also be delicious here.

For the dressing:
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vegan brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vegan fish sauce*
  • 1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
For the steak:
  • Cooking spray
  • 18 ounces Match beef, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
For the salad:
  • 3 cups trimmed watercress
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup julienne-cut carrot
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts**
1. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, fish sauce, and chile paste.  Set aside.

Note: if you prefer your dressing spicier, use up to 2 teaspoons chile paste with garlic.

2. To prepare the beef, heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Rub the black pepper evenly over the beef, and add to the pan.  Cook for 6 minutes on each side until nicely browned on the outside.  Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for about 5 minutes; cut into thin slices.  Place in a bowl and drizzle with half of the dressing mixture.

Note: use a grill pan instead if you want grill marks on your beef.

3. Meanwhile, combine the watercress, cabbage, basil, mint, cilantro, and carrot in a large bowl, and drizzle with the remaining dressing.  Toss well, and divide the salad evenly among 6 plates (about 1 cup per serving).  

4. Top each serving with 3 ounces of the beef, and sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon peanuts. 

*For more info on vegan fish sauce, plus my favorite method to prepare it, see my post for Lion's Head Meatballs with Spicy Coconut Sauce.

**If you can't find unsalted dry-roasted peanuts at the store, order online at

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 cup salad, 3 ounces beef, 1 teaspoon peanuts), Calories 230 

Tasting Notes:
Wow, just wow. This dish has it all: tongue-tingly spice from the chile paste, funkiness from the vegan fish sauce, freshness from the herbs, crispness from the carrots, and savory from the beef.  This is an exciting dish, that's really the best way I know how to put it. So different from the flavors with which I usually cook, but an absolutely awesome combination. Great fresh lime, spectacular basil and mint, and a nice crunch from the peanuts to top it all off.  Do note that leftovers will not hold up well - but chances are you won't have leftovers.


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