Try a delicious and healthy Thai Salad for a great ‘soup and salad combo’ —  high on flavor & low on fat and calories…

By Jay Erisman

A spicy mélange of grilled flank steak tossed with fish sauce, chiles, and fresh Thai basil and served with assorted vegetables, yum nuar is served at room temperature. The crunchy vegetables contrast nicely against grill-charred rare beef, and if the peppers provoke a sweat, so much the better. Yum nuar is easy to prepare at a picnic; just slice the veggies and toss with the dressing beforehand, then grill the meat and cut it into strips.

To start your spring-on-the-patio weather early, you could make this salad quickly and easily as it can be paired with a warm thai, coconut or veggie soup for your ‘soup and salad’ combo as we transition from winter to spring. Or – you may serve as part of a fun holiday appetizer for any parties you have indoors during your winter holiday break!

Here’s my version, with extra vegetables and lots of Thai aromatic spices. Habanero pepper complements Thai flavors beautifully; try it if you can stand the heat. Serve it with a cold bottle of German Riesling, or your favorite beer.

Thai Beef Salad


  • 2-3 lbs. flank steak
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced in ½ inch by 2 inch strips
  • one medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 6 green onions, trimmed, halved, and sliced into 1 inch lengths
  • two medium tomatoes, sliced into thin wedges
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh garlic
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, rolled cigarette-style and cut to shreds (available in Asian markets)
  • 1 cup lightly packed Thai basil leaves and/or 1 cup fresh mint
  • 2 t. finely chopped cilantro stems
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh serrano chile, finely chopped, to taste


  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis 
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or palm sugar
  • ¼ t. fresh ground white pepper


  • Grill the beef over a very hot charcoal fire, or under a broiler, or sear it in a heavy, very hot pan. Cook until a nice crust develops on the outside, and the inside is rare to medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board. Slice thinly, cutting against the grain at all times into 2 inch by 1 inch strips. Put the beef and its juices in a bowl that can accommodate all the ingredients.
  • Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise. With a spoon, remove the seeds and pulp. Slice each half crosswise into ¼ inch slices. Add to bowl.
  • Add the red pepper, red onion, green onion, tomato, garlic, lime leaves, basil or mint, galangal, chile, and cilantro to the bowl.
  • Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, kecap manis, and sugar to a small mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the white pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine.
  • Serve at room temperature, with Bibb lettuce leaves as a wrap for the salad.


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