Thai Beef Salad (Yum Neua)

Having recently gone to Thailand a few months ago, I was feeling inspired to make this dish. On my trip, I had many incredible Thai dishes but this is one I kept ordering over and over. Made with cucumber, tomatoes, fresh herbs, lime and fish sauce, it has complex flavors but still feels light and fresh.

The other night I had Hailey and Otto over to my new place, a recently married couple who love food, to try out the dish. I think the overall reaction was a thumbs up. They are going to Thailand in March and can give me their official review when they get back 🙂

Thai Beef Salad

(This recipe is made to serve 4-6 people)


2 6oz sirloin steaks

1 red onion (or two shallots)

2 tomatoes (cherry tomatoes are nice as well)

1 large cucumber, peeled in stripes and thinly sliced

2 limes

fish sauce

soy sauce

sesame oil

thai chilies (1-2) -Serrano peppers might be a good sub

brown sugar (or if you are really fancy, palm sugar)

1 clove of garlic, minced

lettuce (optional)

Thai basil



2 cups cooked jasmine rice


1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup fish sauce

1 clove of garlic, minced

one thai chili, sliced

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

chopped peanuts (garnish)


Marinate your steaks in a shallow pan with a little soy sauce, water, fish sauce (optional) sesame oil, lime juice, and brown sugar. Just a few dashes of each is fine. You can throw in a clove of garlic or a piece of sliced ginger if you happen to have that around as well.


Start your rice. I made mine in a rice cooker which is super handy cause I didn´t have to think about it.

Next, prep your veggies. I recommend soaking your thinly sliced onions in some hot water and a little vinegar for a minute to take away the spicy taste, but that is up to your discretion. The lime is the dressing will preform this function, but not quite as effectively. I like when my cucumbers have some of their skin peeled, but not all, to create a striped effect. But again–all up to personal preference. Slice your tomatoes into quarter inch pieces and set all the veggies aside.



Next, start your dressing. Mix all the ingredients together and stir to dissolve the sugar. I think this dressing is great, but I highly recommend you taste it to see if maybe you want some more  lime juice, or maybe a dash of soy sauce.

Finally, its time to grill the steaks. I didn´t have a grill, so I did mine in a heavy cast iron pan. Add some oil and turn the heat onto high so that you can get a nice char. Make sure to take your steaks out of the marinade, pat them dry, and place on a clean plate so that your can pepper and salt them before grilling. I like to massage the steaks a bit to rub the salt in. I thin for medium rare about 6-10 minutes is about right. I like to flip them half way to get a nice char on both sides. You can of course cook them longer if you don´t want pink. A good test is to touch the steaks to feel for firmness. Let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. When slicing, try to cut with the grain of the meat.



Finally, make the salad. I like to put lettuce at the bottom of the dish, usually romaine or butter lettuce, just to give it some extra texture. Next, add the cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. On top, put the sliced beef. Finally, add the fresh herbs and dressing and toss well. Serve with cooked jasmine rice. Crushed peanuts add a great salty crunch on top.

IMG_0598 IMG_0597 IMG_0596


This salad actually makes pretty good leftovers, just don´t put the lettuce in the container because it will wilt.


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