Thai Steak Salad

thai steak saladYesterday Julie and I spent an hour walking around Chelsea Market and salivating over all of the delicious food while we waited for Lauryn to show up and join us for drinks. After sampling five types of salts and ten types of vinegars at the Filling Station, wandering past dozens of people eating whole lobsters at the Lobster Place and seeing twenty types of fresh made pasta at Giovanni Rana Pastificio and Cucina, we stumbled onto a tiny little Thai place that definitely lacked the polish and panache of the usual Chelsea Market establishments.  But whatever  Chelsea Thai lacked in décor it more than made up for in delicious smelling food. We didn’t have time to eat there but as we peaked into the open kitchen and over the shoulders of other diners, the pumpkin curry and fried rice with funky shrimp paste tempted us to stay and explore. We ended up grabbing some products from the small grocery section and heading down to the Tippler to get our drink on, but I have a strong feeling  I’ll be heading back to 15th street for that rice.

Since it might be a while before I head back there but I’m now craving Thai food like CRAZY, I’m going to have to make this Thai Steak Salad in the meantime.

Everyone knows I love a salad where the main ingredient is meat and this is no exception. This lightly seared steak is thinly sliced and finishes cooking in a lime-based dressing before being tossed with bright fragrant herbs, juicy tomatoes and crunchy sharp red onions.  Get the best cut of steak you can find and enjoy this gorgeous, exotic and simple meal tonight.

Thai Steak Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 1½ pound of steak*
  • 1 cup of cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup of red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 3 tablespoons of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of mint, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of basil, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup of fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar
  • Sliced red thai chilies for garnish (optional)
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  1. Remove the steak from the fridge, liberally season with salt and pepper and allow to rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. When the pan is very hot and almost smoking, place the steak, seasoning side down, into the pan and allow to cook, without moving it, for 4 minutes on each side (2 minutes if it’s a skirt/hangar steak.)** Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. While the steak is resting, in a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar.
  4. Slice the steak thinly across the grain.*** Toss the steak with the dressing and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Lay the steak slices on a platter, top with the cilantro, mint, basil, onion, cucumber and tomato. Pour the remaining dressing over the salad and garnish with thinly sliced thai red chilies (optional).
* I prefer to use boneless rib-eye for this dish because of the meltingly tender texture when its cooked rare, but skirt steak or hangar steak also work well for this dish.
**This will cook the steak to about medium rare. The rest of the cooking process will happen in the acidity of the lime dressing.
** If you are using skirt steak, hangar steak or flank steak, in order to get the most tender slices of meat take note off the grain in the meat (the direction of the lines running through the meat) and cut the meat in the opposite direction.


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