• Thai beef salad (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

Light, fresh and utterly delicious, this salad layers marinated beef, roasted rice, pickled eschallots and a spicy, deep fried shallot dressing. Serve as an entree or light main or add 150 g cooked rice noodles to the salad for a heartier meal.






Skill level

Average: 2.5 (187 votes)


  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • salt and white pepper
  • 500 g fillet steak such as scotch or rump, trimmed
  • 1 ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) rice vinegar
  • 70 g (about 5 small) eschallots, finely sliced
  • 2 cups picked watercress leaves
  • 2 cups mixed herbs, Thai basil, mint, coriander
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, finely sliced lengthways on the diagonal
  • 2 long red chillies, seeds removed, finely sliced lengthways
  • ¼ cup deep fried shallots, to serve
  • 1 tbsp roasted rice (see note), lightly crushed, to serve


  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp deep fried shallots
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander stems and roots
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) Iime juice
  • 1 ½ tbsp grated palm sugar
  • ½ tsp roasted chilli powder or chilli powder, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Combine oyster, fish and soy sauces in a bowl and season with white pepper. Rub marinade all over the beef and set aside at room temperature.

In a bowl, dissolve caster sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt in 1 tablespoon hot water. Add vinegar and eschallots and leave to pickle until ready to serve.

To make the dressing, pound garlic, deep fried shallots and coriander stems and roots with a pinch of salt until smooth. Add palm sugar and fish sauce and mix until combined, then stir through lime juice, chilli powder and a pinch of white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings; it should be hot, salty and sour.

Place a lightly oiled chargrill pan or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side for rare. Remove from the chargrill and rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Thinly slice and toss with 1 tablespoon of dressing.

Drain the eschallots and combine with the watercress, mixed herbs, cucumber and chilli. Add the beef and enough dressing to lightly coat and toss gently.

Divide salad among plates, top with deep fried shallots and roasted rice. Serve immediately.


• To make roasted rice, place a small frying pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon raw long grain rice and cook for 3-4 minutes until light golden.


Photography by Alan Benson