Thai Steak Salad

5 from 1 vote

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Salty, spicy, and savory are the first words that come to mind for this Thai steak salad, beef tossed in a herby, tangy, and vibrant dressing. The dressing combines a mix of fish sauce, lime juice, water, sugar, chili flakes, and rice powder. If you’re looking for more Thai recipes, be sure to try our Tofu Pad Thai!

a bowl of Thai steak salad with chopsticks inserted; dressing, plated fresh herbs, and a lime wedge off to the side

What ingredients do you need for this Thai steak salad recipe?

Beef: Wondering what cut of steak is best? We always opt for skirt steak or hanger steak for this dish. Skirt steak offers a robust, beefy taste while hanger steak has a rich, buttery flavor.

Steak Marinade: Combines a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, lemongrass and white pepper. The marinade tenderizes the beef while also infusing it with nutty, citrusy notes and a pop of spiciness.

Salad: This light and refreshing salad has a base of shallots, fresh herbs (mint and cilantro), and tomatoes.

Dressing: Although every component of this salad is important, the salad dressing is the star of the show. The fish sauce adds a nice saltiness that pairs perfectly with the rest of the salad components.

Fresh lime juice adds a bright pop of citrus flavor and water helps with the consistency. Add white granulated sugar for sweetness and chili flakes for some heat. Toasted rice powder, achieved by grinding sticky rice with a mortar and pestle (see recipe notes for more details), adds a nice, nutty crunch.

close up view of Thai steak salad

Step-by-step instructions to make the best Thai steak salad

Marinate Beef: In a large bowl or plastic bag, add in your skirt steak and marinate with soy sauce, sesame oil, lemongrass, and white pepper. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes, or overnight.

When ready to cook your steak, take it out at room temperature for 20 minutes ahead of time.

Prepare Salad Dressing: In a separate large bowl, toss together shallots, mint, cilantro, and tomatoes. Pour over your fish sauce, lime juice, water, sugar, chili flakes, and rice powder. Heat a cast iron skillet until sizzling hot, you can also do this on a grill.

Grill Steak: Grill and char your steak on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked to medium-rare (my preference is at 130-135 degrees).

Assemble Salad: Transfer to a cutting board to rest for 5 to 10 minutes and thinly slice against the grain. Toss in with your salad and serve.

a bowl of Thai beef salad with chopsticks; a plate of fresh mint to the left beside a small saucer of dressing

Tips, Tricks and Substitutions

What is Thai salad dressing made of?

This Thai steak salad dressing is made of fish sauce, lime juice, water, sugar, chili flakes, and rice powder.

What are the 4 types of Thai salads?

There are many Thai salads, and they all fall into one of four categories: yam, tam, laab, and pla. This steak salad is a variation of laab, known as nam tok. Laab salads are characterized by their dressing, which is made with ingredients like ground dried chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, and khao khua (toasted rice powder).

What wine goes with Thai beef salad?

Although beef is often paired with red wine, this salad tastes amazing when paired with a crisp, dry white wine like Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. The citrusy notes and subtle sweetness complement the bright flavors of the salad.

Check out more Thai recipes!

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5 from 1 vote

Thai Steak Salad

Salty, spicy, and savory are the first words that come to mind for this Thai steak salad, beef tossed in a herby, tangy, and vibrant dressing.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound skirt steak, or hanger steak
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 5 small shallots, thinly sliced, Thai shallots preferred
  • 1 bundle mint, torn with stems removed
  • 1 bundle of cilantro, roughly torn
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Juice of 3 medium limes
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes, plus more to preference
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted rice powder, see note

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl or plastic bag, add in your skirt steak and marinate with soy sauce, sesame oil, lemongrass, and white pepper. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes, or overnight.
  • When ready to cook your steak, take it out at room temperature for 20 minutes ahead of time.
  • In a separate large bowl, toss together shallots, mint, cilantro, and tomatoes. Pour over your fish sauce, lime juice, water, sugar, chili flakes, and rice powder. Heat a cast iron skillet until sizzling hot, you can also do this on a grill. Grill and char your steak on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked to medium-rare (my preference is at 130-135 degrees).
  • Transfer to a cutting board to rest for 5 to 10 minutes and thinly slice against the grain. Toss in with your salad and serve.

Notes

Toasted Rice Powder: Take about 1/4 cup of Jasmine Rice, or Thai Sticky Rice. Transfer your rice to a dry skillet for about 15 minutes on medium-high heat, tossing periodically to prevent burning. Transfer the toasted rice to a pestle and mortar or spice grinder, and start to grind the rice powder until it is a pretty thin powder. Save any leftovers for other Thai recipes, like our Thai Larb.

Nutrition

Calories: 285kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 1438mg, Potassium: 580mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 443IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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