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Thai Steak and Herb Salad with Spicy Lime Sauce (Nam Tok Neua)

4 Servings

40 minutes 20 minutes active

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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.




Don’t use shallots that are soft and spongy. If firm, fresh shallots aren’t available, it’s better to use a half of a medium red onion, thinly sliced. Don’t slice the steak without first letting it rest. A 10-minute rest allows the juices that are forced to the center during cooking to redistribute throughout the muscle fibers so they don’t flood out when the meat is sliced.

40 minutes

20 minutes active



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Rosemary J.
June 29, 2022
Authentic flavors!
Studied abroad in Thailand and have been looking for that signature larb/laap flavor and texture ever since. Loved this approachable recipe - completed the meal with the MS Thai fried rice recipe.
Michael Y.
August 20, 2022
Different, Interesting, Might be for you
This was good. I've never had this dish in a Thai restaurant or anywhere else. I'm pretty sure this recipe is a very good version. That said, it may be a little polarizing. The dressing is quite strong. If the idea of steak dipped in lime juice and fish sauce sounds appealing, definitely give this a try. If not, maybe try this anyhow just in case it's your thing. I probably won't make it again.