Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Vietnamese Beef Salad

March 8, 2018 by General Administrator

This main-course salad is based on what I gather is a classic Vietnamese sauce called Nước chấm. It’s a combination of lime juice, a bit of sugar, and fish sauce. It’s sharp, salty and addictive. The recipe combines slices of lightly-cooked steak with a salad of shredded vegetables. You can also make it without the steak, in which case I’d recommend adding some toasted peanuts. You can also make this more hearty still by serving it alongside some cooked rice, or rice noodles.

Vietnamese Beef Salad with Nước chấm
Serves 4


2 red chilli peppers (or to taste)
½ cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime zest
⅓ cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
2 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
600g rump steak or ¾ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
½ cucumber
6 carrots, peeled and shredded
½ medium white cabbage, finely shredded
8 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch coriander, coarsely chopped
roasted peanuts (if you’re not using steak)
an additional lime half, for garnish (optional)


De-seed and finely chop one chilli pepper. In a small bowl, combine the chopped chilli, fish sauce, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger and garlic.

If you’re using the steak, then pour 1/2 of the mixture into a sealable plastic bag and add the steak, if you’re using it. Seal, and leave to marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate for up to 24 hours). Let meat come to room temperature before cooking if necessary.

De-seed the second chilli pepper and slice it finely. Slice the cucumber into thin matchsticks. Toss the sliced chilli, sliced cucumber, shredded carrot and cabbage, spring onions and almost all the coriander together to mix. Keep a little coriander back to garnish the top of the salad.
If you’re not using the steak, simply add the peanuts, pour the dressing over the vegetables, toss, garnish with a little more coriander, and serve.

If you’re using the steak, toss the salad with the remaining dressing and then spread the salad out onto a serving platter and set aside.

When you are ready to eat heat a cast iron pan (or other sturdy frying pan) to very hot and add the steak. Cook for 75 seconds on each side, unless you don’t like your meat rare, in which case cook it for perhaps 2 minutes a side, or however long you favour cooking steak. I like steak very rare . . .

Remove the meat from the pan and let it sit for 3-5 minutes on a cutting board. Then slice the steak very thinly, and place the slices over the top of the salad. Scatter the sliced red chiles and reserved coriander over the top and serve with an additional sliced lime on the side, in case anyone wants more lime.

Recipe adapted from Melissa Clark, New York Times Cooking.

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