Warm Thai Beef Salad

After the indulgence of Christmas food it’s good to have a few lighter but still delicious meals up your sleeve. I love this Thai beef salad so much I made it twice in the week leading up to Christmas. It’s a minimal effort meal; more arty assembly than complicated cooking. The real trick is getting the balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet just right in the dressing. Feel free to tinker with it if it’s not quite right for you. And, of course, avoiding overcooking the steak is key. It should be pink and soft in the middle with a moreish scorch on the outside, so that the juices run into the salad. Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main meal or 4 as a starter)

  • 2 sirloin or rump steaks
  • 85g bag watercress
  • Approx. 400g beansprouts
  • Half a cucumber
  • Two handfuls unsalted cashews
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • Juice 2 limes
  • Small bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 large banana shallot
  •  1-2 red chillies, depending on strength/taste
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced or finely grated)
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs palm sugar (for authenticity) or demerera sugar (for convenience)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Olive oil (for frying)


  1. Finely chop the chillies, shallot and coriander.
  2. Place in a bowl with the lemon zest, lime juice, garlic, fish sauce, sugar and salt. Whisk gently with a fork to combine.
  3. Allow dressing to sit for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Once ready to serve, deseed and slice cucumber.
  5.  Place on plates or in wide bowls with the watercress and beansprouts.
  6. Either slice steaks into bitesize pieces or leave whole. Coat meat in oil and fry quickly.
  7. Crush cashews slightly and allow them to colour gently in a dry pan, but not burn. They catch quickly. Set aside while steaks cook.
  8. Whisk dressing again and pour over salad, using hands to work through.
  9. If steaks were fried whole, slice on a board. Place steak pieces on top of salad.
  10. Sprinkle cashews over salad and serve immediately.




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