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Char Grilled Thai Beef Salad

The people of Thailand and neighbouring countries are very fond of this salad. This is an authentic recipe I picked up on my travels and have enjoyed cooking back here at home. It’s also very good with prawns.

SERVES 4–6

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp jasmine rice
  • 2 dried small red chillies
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) thick beef fillet
  • 3 tbsp ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 100g (4oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 red shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and cut into 1cm  (½ in) slices
  • 1 mild red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced handful of fresh mint leaves handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • small handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 100g (4oz) mixed green salad leaves

Method

  1. If using a charcoal barbecue to grill the beef, light it 30 minutes before you want to start cooking. If using a gas barbecue, light it 10 minutes beforehand. Alternatively, use a griddle or frying pan.
  2. Heat a dry frying pan, add the rice and toast until golden but not burnt. Grind the rice in a coffee grinder or pound to a powder in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
  3. Reheat the frying pan and add the dried chillies. Toast until they are smoky, tossing regularly, then grind or pound to a powder. Mix in a small bowl with the rice and set aside  – you should have about 2 teaspoons in total.
  4. If using a griddle or frying pan, place it over a high heat until it’s very hot. Cook the beef fillet over medium-hot coals on the barbecue or on the pan for 10–12 minutes, until well marked on the outside and rare to medium- rare inside. Place in a non-metallic bowl and leave to rest for 10 minutes,  then mix together the ketjap manis and
  5. sesame oil and brush it all over the fillet. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in a cool place for 2 hours, turning from time to time. This is not essential but it
  6. really does help the flavours to develop and the beef to properly rest.
  7. Place the cherry tomatoes, shallots, spring onions, cucumber, chilli and herbs in a large bowl and gently toss together to combine. Cover with cling film and chill until needed.
  8. Dissolve the palm sugar in a screw-topped jar with the lime juice and fish sauce. Set aside until needed.
  9. To serve, thinly slice the beef and return it to the bowl
  10. it has been marinating in. Combine the cucumber salad with the fish sauce dressing and the ground chilli rice. Divide the salad leaves and the cucumber salad between plates and pile the sliced beef high on top to serve.