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Cookalicious Spicy Thai-style Beef Salad 11 October 2006

Posted by cath in specials, Thai food, thai salad, very spicy.
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A Thai-inspired, spicy, fresh and meaty salad dish. Great for special occasions – use only the best quality meat, and cook it rare to be at it’s best. This dish works with hot, freshly cooked beef, sliced and dressed or equally well cold so you can also make it with any left-over roast beef. I must admit that this particular salad was made from topside, roasted specially for this salad and also to have some yummy roast beef sandwiches…

As for the chillies, I’ve used a handful of my own homegrown chillies this time and got a good, spicy result. You can remove the seeds to get a more mellow heat, but I would recommend making this dish spicy – it’s both authentic and the sweetness of the mint plus freshness of the lime makes a great contrast of flavours with the chili.


The finished dish: Spicy Thai-style Beef Salad


(Serves 2 as a light dinner or lunch, more as a dish in a larger Thai meal)

Cooked beef (hot or cold) – 2 thick steaks (sirloin or rib-eye is best) cooked until rare or some rare roasted Topside/Silverside

Mint leaves – a large handful, roughly chopped

Coriander – a small bunch, roughly chopped

Chillies – add as many as you like (the hotter the better!) chop finely

Spring onions – 3 or 4 sliced quite finely on the diagonal

Garlic – 2 or 3 cloves, peeled and sliced very finely

Dressing – Juice of 1 lime, 1-2 tbsp fish sauce, freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkling of sugar (to taste)



  1. Cut the cooked beef into thin strips or chunks (as you prefer)
  2. Mix together lime juice and fish sauce with some pepper and sugar
  3. Combine all the herbs, garlic, spring onions, chillies and beef in a bowl and mix well
  4. Pour over the dressing and mix again
  5. Serve with sticky rice and fresh vegetables: cucumber, green beans and cabbage or Chinese leaf

Simple but very tasty!


Spicy Thai-style Beef Salad




Following recipes and other controversial topics! 5 July 2006

Posted by cath in general info, help, Info and Cooks Notes, ingredients, Recipes, thai curry, Thai food, thai salad, thai soups, variations.

One thing you all should know about cooking is that it’s all about personal taste. As the cook, you get to decide what ingredients to use and what your meal should taste like. For me, recipes are just guides, offering ideas and techniques, which are then adapted to what I have, what I like, who is coming round for the meal etc.

Variety is important. Everyone can have their own special way of making things, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you’re new to cooking, you may find it hard to deviate from recipes, so here are some tips on what to think about when reading a recipe.

There has been some controversy about my Laab recipe so lets start with some thoughts about Thai salads and other Thai food…

A recent post included another recipe for Laab. The two recipes are very similar – a couple of different ingredients, including sugar in the alternate recipe, and slightly different cooking techniques.

Cooking can be a controversial topic, and you’ll find many different ingredient lists and techniques for basically the same dish – Thai food is no different. Depending what ingredients you can find, you may have to adapt and look for substitutions. Also consider where you are, what your personal tastes are, and what about your guests? My Thai cookery teacher always asked what a dish needed when we tasted it…his response was always “more chilli!” so my recipes are pretty spicy reflecting this. Having tried both spicy and less spicy (when entertaining guests) I think it’s always worth adding a little more chilli than you think, the heat really works with Thai food.

Here are some other things to think about:

I don’t like adding extra sugar when it’s not required, so I would generally only add sugar to sweet and sour and possibly shop-bought panang paste. Its all about personal taste, but here in the UK we rarely need extra salt or sugar – this is not a tropical climate! So think about who’s going to be eating your meal, and where, before chucking in any sugar…

When you’re learning to cook it’s good if you taste your food before and after adding extra ingredients. Thai food has four main layers of flavour: salt, sugar, sour and spicy. If you taste before adding fish sauce or lime juice to a dish you can see what a difference these ingredients make. In my laab recipe, mint provides sweetness, with fish sauce, chillies and lime providing their usual salt, spice and sourness. If you like extra sour, add more lime juice at the end, as discussed elsewhere, cooking lime juice reduces it’s sourness. Taste and adjust until it’s what you like, or what you think your guests will enjoy.

Kaffir lime leaves are a common enough ingredient in salad, but I am not a big fan – I prefer fresh herbs such as mint and coriander as they are more widely available locally (in the UK). Lime leaves keep well in the freezer and are a good ingredient to have on hand frozen to add to soups and curries for an extra lemony flavour. But frozen leaves don’t work quite so well chopped up in salads. If you want to try lime leaves in salads look out for fresh lime leaves and use them promptly.

Now for the most controversial topic – do we marinate the meat (albeit for just a few minutes) before cooking, or after! My recipe recommends adding flavour including lime juice to the mince before cooking, then cooking it all up. This is the recipe I was taught, but more interestingly, it is a technique I watched many times on stalls and in restaurants. Some Thai (and other regional) dishes are actually not cooked: prawns and other meats are sometimes ‘cooked’ by just marinating in lime juice – the acid in the juice ‘cooks’ the meat or fish so it’s technically no longer raw. In the case of Laab, this was always the first step, you will see the meat take on a less raw appearance as its sits in the lime juice while you prepare the rest of the dish. Cooking in this case just heats up the salad, properly cooking it where appropriate, Thai meat salads are usually served warm. Adding the hot meat to the herbs in the serving dish really brings out their aroma. Remember if you cook the meat for long, the lime juice sourness will dissipate so add some more at the end.

So: cook, taste, add the next flavour, taste again…this is the best way to learn and adapt to your palette and to understand the effect of making substitutions.

Thai Recipes > Salads > Pomelo 12 March 2006

Posted by cath in Info and Cooks Notes, ingredients, preparing thai ingredients, Recipes, Thai food, thai salad, very spicy.

SpicySpicy Pomelo Salad
(Dtam Somoh)

Serves 4 as a lunch with sticky rice or as a dish in a main meal
1 pomelo – prepared into shreds (see instructions below)
2 cloves garlic -– finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass -– thinly sliced
3-10 bird’s eye chillies
a generous bunch of coriander -– split into stalk (finely chop) and leaves (roughly chopped)
a handful of cashew nuts (plain) or peanuts -– roughly chopped
4 tomatoes -– quartered
2 snake beans (or several fine beans) -– cut into 2cm lengths
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice (roughly the juice of 1 lime)
A selection of fresh vegetables e.g. white cabbage or Chinese leaf, green beans (or snake beans), cucumber, celery

1. Take the washed pomelo and cut a slice off the top. The peel and pith is quite thick and can be cut off in fairly thick slices. Quarter the pomelo as shown below and begin cutting off the peel and pith.

prepare pomelo 1

prepare pomelo 2

prepare pomelo 3

2. Now peel away the rest of the tough pith around the pomelo segments and shred them roughly into smaller segments, as shown below.

prepare pomelo 4

prepare pomelo 5

prepare pomelo 6

prepare pomelo 7

Finishing the Dish:

  1. In a large bowl, pound the garlic, lemongrass, coriander stalks and bird’s eye chillies together with the end of a rolling pin, aiming to bruise them slightly but not crush them.
  2. Add the chopped cashew nuts, tomatoes and beans and mix thoroughly, again bruising slightly but being careful not to crush the tomatoes.
  3. Add the shredded pomelo and mix well with a spoon, be careful not to crush the pomelo segments. Then add the chopped coriander leaves and stir through.
  4. Mix the fish sauce and lime juice and pour over the salad, mix again and serve immediately.

Serve with the cabbage leaves and other raw vegetables and with steamed white Sticky Rice.

Thai fruit salads are typically served very spicy, with lots of fresh herbs and crunchy vegetables on the side.

What it looks like…

pomelo salad

Thai Recipes > Rice > Steamed White Sticky Rice 1 March 2006

Posted by cath in help, Info and Cooks Notes, not spicy, Recipes, Thai food, thai salad.
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Not SpicyKhaaw Neow
White Sticky (Glutinous) Rice

Serves 4-6

You will need:
1 scoop (i.e. a small cup or a yogurt pot) of white sticky rice per person
A large bowl for soaking
A steamer or equivalent
A large plate or tray for serving

Preparation and Cooking:

  1. Begin by washing the sticky rice in the bowl until the water runs clear
  2. Soak the sticky rice in water for at least 8 hours (this is best to do overnight, changing the water in the morning)
  3. Once soaked, drain the sticky rice and place it in the top part of the steamer (if the steamer has very large holes and the rice easily falls through, then use a muslin cloth under the rice to hold it in)
  4. Bring the water in the bottom of the steamer to the boil, once it is boiling it will start to cook the rice
  5. When steam comes through the sticky rice put the lid on the steamer
  6. Steam for about 20-30 minutes
  7. Remove lid and carefully after about 20-25 minutes, lift off the top layer of rice and test some rice from the centre – if it is not hard in the middle then it is cooked
  8. If the rice is still hard in the middle, replace the lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes until it’s done (the time will vary depending on the amount of soaking, and the amount of rice being cooked)
  9. Once cooked, turn the heat off and turn out the sticky rice onto a large plate or tray
  10. Using a spoon or fork, move the rice around, spread it out and turn it over, you are aiming to get rid of all the hot steam, if you do not do this the rice will go soggy
  11. The rice is now ready to serve warm or can be kept covered by a tea towel to serve later.

How to eat:
Sticky rice is traditionally eaten using your hands. A small amount is picked up and squeezed to form a small shovel about the size of teaspoon, which is held between the thumb and forefinger and used to scoop up some salad into a bite-sized portion of rice and salad

Steaming Equipment:
If you don't have a steamer, you can use a metal sieve fitted (closely) over a pan of water with a close fitting lid.

Tip! Steaming the rice requires that the steam is forced up through the rice ‘cake’, so any gaps between the pan and the steamer will slow down this cooking process.

Thai Recipes > Salads > Laab 1 March 2006

Posted by cath in Info and Cooks Notes, ingredients, Recipes, Thai food, thai salad, very spicy.

(Spicy Minced Meat Salad)

Serves 4 as a lunch with sticky rice or as a dish in a main meal

500g minced meat – beef, pork, chicken or lamb
4 shallots – thinly sliced
2 slices ginza – finely chopped
4 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp lime juice (roughly the juice of 2 limes)
1½ tbsp chilli powder
a generous bunch of coriander – split into stalk (finely chop) and leaves (roughly chopped)
2 spring onions – chopped
a generous bunch of mint – roughly chop the leaves
3 tbsp sticky rice – roasted and ground
10 finely chopped small birds-eye chillies (Optional)
A selection of fresh vegetables e.g. white cabbage or Chinese leaf green beans (or snake beans) cucumber celery sweet basil leaves


  1. Begin by marinating the mince. Put the mince, shallots, ginza, fish sauce, lime juice, coriander stalks and chilli powder into a bowl and mix thoroughly
  2. Place the chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves and spring onion in a serving dish.
  3. Make the ground, roasted sticky rice by putting the rice grains (uncooked, not soaked) into a dry wok or small frying pan over a low heat and roast (no oil) for about ½ hour, agitating occasionally. When they are golden brown in colour, remove from the heat and grind in a pestle and mortar to a fairly fine powder (some larger grains will create a nice crunch to the salad).
  4. For an extra fresh and spicy laab, add the chopped birds-eye chillies to the finished dish.

To Cook:

  1. Heat a wok (or large saucepan/frying pan) on medium heat
  2. Stir fry the mince mixture for about 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked
  3. Transfer the hot cooked mince into the serving dish and mix with the spring onion, mint and coriander leaves
  4. Add the ground, roasted sticky rice and mix well

Serve immediately with the cabbage leaves and other raw vegetables and with steamed white Sticky Rice.

Thai salads are typically served warm, very spicy, with lots of fresh herbs and crunchy vegetables on the side. You can substitute other herbs, such as Thai Sweet Basil, but I think mint gives the best flavour to this salad.

And the finished dish:

Laab Moo