I've been taking something of a Thai break. I exhausted the overly sweet noodle dishes a few years ago and figured it just wasn't my thing. But I've found my way back in through Thai salads. The mix of extreme spice, acid, fat, and sour is completely addicting, especially during the warm summer months. I've been looking for a good Thai beef salad, and was intrigued by this one from NPR.
Though my favorite versions of the dish are always made with beef grilled over charcoal, this one is about as close as I can get while staying indoors. The only issue I have is the recommended amount of black pepper. At first, the spice is intense but pleasurable. But slowly the pepper starts to wear on you. And if you let this one sit for a while, it only intensifies. After 30 minutes it becomes unpalatable. I halved the amount of black pepper here, which should solve all the problems and leave you with a clean, intense dish.
- 1 pound flank, skirt, or sirloin tip
- 1 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely ground
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 hot green chili (preferably Thai green chili)
- 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup mint, chopped
Preheat the broiler or a grill to high. Pour the black peppercorns onto large plate. Coat all sides of the steak with the peppercorns. Cook the steak for 3 to 5 minutes a side, or until medium-rare. Remove the steak, and set aside. Let cool, and then place in the fridge. Give the steak as much time as you can to cool completely. Preferably an hour or so. But even 15 minutes will help.
Whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and sliced chili.
Take the steak out and thinly slice it against the grain.
Toss the steak slices with the cucumbers, shallots, cilantro, and mint in a large bowl. Add the fish sauce mixture and toss again. Serve.