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This salad from the Isaan region of Thailand is a fantastic combination of meaty, tangy, herbal, spicy and allium flavors, with fish sauce adding loads of umami. The Thai name for this dish is nam tok neua, which translates as “waterfall beef.” There is only conjecture about how the salad got its poetic name, and no definitive answer. Toasted rice powder, called khao kua, is a key ingredient in the salad, one that adds texture and a unique, slightly nutty flavor. The powder is made by toasting uncooked rice in a pan until golden brown, then grinding the grains to a coarse powder. Sweet (also called glutinous) rice is the type used to make traditional khao kua, but we opt to use easier-to-source jasmine rice. In our take on nam tok neua, we sear the steak on the stovetop, slice it thinly, then toss it with sliced shallots that have been steeping in the lime and fish sauce dressing. Serve with steamed rice alongside.
tablespoons jasmine rice
cup fish sauce
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