The other recipe we made this week from Hot Sour Salty Sweet was a spicy beef salad. Here, a black pepper-rubbed sirloin is grilled over high heat just briefly to give it some color, then sliced thin (still very rare on the inside).
To finish cooking, it is added with some toasted rice powder to a boiling mixture of broth, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar, and immediately removed from heat and added to a bowl of aromatics like green onions, bird chiles, scallions, and mint.
The few minutes that it sits in the hot liquid while you prepare the accompaniments is all it needs to finish cooking the interior to a perfect tenderness. Very easy recipe, but very authentic tasting as well. It also works well over an open fire as an alternative to simply grilling, but requires no careful regulation of heat that would necessitate a gas stove.
Spicy Grilled Beef Salad
One 1-pound beef sirloin steak, about 3/4 inch thick
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Roasted Rice Powder (optional)
1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots, separated into rings
4 scallions, trimmed, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 thai (bird) chiles, or serrano chiles, minced
1/2 cup mint leaves
accompaniments: choose two or three
1 small cabbage, cored, cut into wedges, separated into leaves
8 to 10 leaves tender leaf or Bibb lettuce
4 to 6 leaves napa cabbage, cut crosswise into 1- to 2-inch slices
5 or 6 yard-long beans, trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths, and blanched for a minute
1 European cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 or 3 scallions, trimmed and halved lengthwise
Rub the meat with black pepper. Grill over hot coals, or broil, about 3 inches from the coals. Grill or broil until rare, about 2 minutes per side. Very thinly slice the meat across the grain.
In a medium saucepan, bring broth, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar to a boil over high heat. Toss in the rice powder and meat and quickly stir to coat the meat. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer the meat and liquid to a large bowl (do this quickly... you don't want the beef to overcook). Add the shallots, scallions, chiles, and mint and toss. Let stand while you arrange the accompaniments on a platter.
Mound the salad on some lettuce leaves on a plate, and pour the extra dressing over the top. Serve with accompaniments at the table and jasmine or sticky rice.
Serves 4-6 with rice