Thai Beef Salad

Close up of Thai Beef Salad

Not just another Thai Beef Salad….This is made with one little change to create a dressing from an award winning Thai restaurant, arguably one of the best in the world outside of Thailand!

If you’re feeling inspired, indulge in a Thai banquet at home with Chicken Satay Skewers, Thai Fish Cakes, and a Thai Red Curry or Green Curry!

Close up of Thai Beef Salad

Thai Beef Salad

I’m probably completely biased, but I think that Asian salads are the best in the world. I love them because they are interesting and the dressings are so good.

The chances of me ordering a salad at any restaurant other than an Asian one is almost zero.

However, at Asian restaurants, there is a prospect of it happening!!

My favourite part is the zingy, fresh, strong flavoured dressings used in Asian salads. No mayo, no cream, no cheese, far less oil. Just pure fresh flavours – often with plenty of chili in it. Fresh heat. I love it!

Thai Beef Salad (Restaurant Style) - one little change to the usual recipe to make a restaurant quality Thai Beef Salad

Fork stabbing piece of beef in Thai Beef Salad

I think Thai Beef Salad is probably one of the better known Asian salads. I eat it year round, rain, hail or shine, and it’s one of my favourite ways to use a good piece of steak because a little bit goes a long way.

I don’t know about where you live, but even though Australia is cattle country, beef is the most expensive protein and a good steaks cost $40+ per kg (that’s $20+ per pound).

For a Thai Beef salad for 2, you really only need around 7 to 8 oz / 200 – 250g of good quality steak. Cook it to your liking…..I won’t say it’s a sacrilege to cook quality beef more than medium rare but… OK, I can’t resist, I have to say it. I think it’s a crime to cook quality beef beyond medium rare!!!!!

What goes in Thai Beef Salad

Here’s what you need.

The unique thing about this recipe is the use of coriander/cilantro stems in the Dressing. The flavour it adds is terrific – and authentic!

In Thailand, the roots are traditionally used but in Western countries, coriander usually isn’t sold with long roots like it is in Thailand so it’s a total pain to get enough to make this Dressing.

Using the stem is a terrific fall back!

What goes in Thai Beef Salad

How to make Thai Beef Salad

The Dressing is the star here, and the key to getting truly great flavour in it is to grind up the coriander/cilantro stems, chilli and garlic in a mortar and pestle to form a paste before mixing in the other Dressing ingredients.

But don’t worry if you don’t have a mortar and pestle – you can finely mince the ingredients then shake the Dressing up in a jar!

How to make Thai Beef Salad

The Dressing is the key

The dressing for this salad is the star, and it’s based on a recipe from this cookbook by Suet Saenkham, the genius Thai native behind the critically acclaimed Spice I Am restaurants in Sydney.

Spice I Am is said to be one of THE best Thai restaurants outside of Thailand. Everything I have tried from the cookbook is just so incredible, a step up from the run-of-the-mill Thai takeouts.

I adapted the dressing recipe a wee bit because I must admit I found the original recipe a little too strong flavored, which is saying something for me because I really like strong flavours! But the base recipe is the same.

Hope you enjoy! – Nagi x

Close up of Thai Beef Salad

Watch how to make it

Thai Beef Salad

Recipe video above. One little change to the usual Thai Beef Salad recipe – grinding coriander to mix into the dressing gives this an extra dimension that makes this a restaurant standard recipe.


  • 1/2 to 1 tsp birds eye or Thai Chilli (, very finely sliced (Note 1))
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp cilantro/coriander stems (, finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil ((or canola or vegetable oil))


  • 7 – 8 oz / 200 – 250 g good quality beef steak – sirloin (, at room temperature (Note 2))
  • 1/2 tbsp oil ((vegetable, peanut or canola oil))
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups mixed lettuce leaves
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes (, halved)
  • 1/4 small red onion ((spanish onion), very finely sliced)
  • 1/2 cucumber (, cut horizontally then cut into slices (about 1/3 cup))
  • 1/4 cup cilantro/coriander leaves (, lightly packed)
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves (, lightly packed)


  • 1 tbsp peanuts (, roughly chopped)
  • Extra cilantro/coriander and mint leaves


  1. Place the birds eye chili, garlic, cilantro stems and a small pinch of salt into a mortar and pestle. Grind until a smooth paste forms.

  2. Add the remaining Dressing ingredients. Adjust sugar, lime juice and fish sauce to taste. Set aside.

  3. Alternative: Finely mince garlic, coriander and chilli. Use side of knife to smear into paste on cutting board, then shake in jar with remaining ingredients.


  1. Preheat a skillet over high heat until screaming hot and smoking.
  2. Drizzle the beef with 1/2 tbsp of oil on both sides, then sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the beef to your liking (Note 2).

  3. Cook times: for steak 2cm / 4/5” thick, 2 min on each side for medium rare (until internal temp is 52°C/125°F) OR 2 1/2 min each side for medium (internal temp 57°C/135°F).

  4. Remove the beef from the skillet onto a plate. Loosely tent with foil and set aside for 10 minutes to rest.


  1. Place lettuce in a bowl, drizzle with 1 tbsp Dressing and toss.

  2. Slice the beef thinly against the grain (Note 2) and place in a bowl with the remaining Salad ingredients. Dress with most remaining Dressing and toss gently.

  3. Pile dressed lettuce onto plate(s), pile over beef and other salad ingredients.

  4. Sprinkle with peanuts and garnish with extra cilantro/coriander and mint leaves if using, drizzle with remaining Dressing. Serve immediately!

1. Chilli – 1/2 tsp will be mildly spicy, 1 tsp will be decently spicy but not blow-your-head off. For mild, 1/4 tsp.

Can sub with other chilli of choice, or use chilli paste.

2. Steak – any good steak suited to grilling. Sirloin, boneless rib eye, porterhouse, scotch fillet or rump steak, flank, flat iron (my personal favourite).

Internal temperature cooked steak medium rare

Remember: the steak will continue cooking when resting! And remember: you can cook a steak a bit more if needed but you can’t UNCOOK steak!

Cutting the beef against the grain produces the most tender slices. To do this, look at the piece of steak and you will notice that most of the fibres are going in one direction. Turn the steak so the fibres are going left to right directly in front of you. Then cut across the fibres – i.e. 90 degrees perpendicular to the direction of the fibres.

3. Adapted from the Spice I Am cookbook by Suet Saenkham, the genius behind the Spice I Am restaurants in Sydney, Australia, arguably one of the BEST Thai restaurants in the world outside of Thailand!

4. Nutrition per serving assuming 2 servings.

Originally published July 2015. Updated August 2019 with new writing, new photos, brand new video, step photos and most importantly, Life of Dozer section added!

Life of Dozer

Look what I brought back from Vietnam for him………  Toddler size fits him perfectly!




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