This particular Thai dish originates from the Laab series of salads usually made with chicken, beef or pork. Blend that Thai experience with another great version from Aussie celebrity chef Neil Perry, and you have a winner. It’s a fusion thing. The key flavour burst is the dressing – or Nam Jin. If you like it hotter, simply up the ante on the chili. If you like it saltier, add more fish sauce. If you like it more sour, simply add more lemon. Yours to experiment with.
Marinade ingredients (serves 4+)
2-3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of grated palm sugar (or any sugar if you can’t get that)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
300g finely sliced beef
1 lemongrass stalk, outer leaves removed, chopped very finely
1 long Jalapeño chili finely sliced
2-3 chili padi finely chopped
5 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
3 tablespoons of lime juice
1 cup of coriander chopped finely
3 red onions finely sliced
10 cherry tomatoes cut in quarters
1 small butternut lettuce trimmed
1/2 cup of rice that you toast in a dry pan until browning and then bash in pestle and mortar – you want crunchy NOT powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
Here’s what to do:
- The marinade: Into a bowl add the marinade and 300g of beef. (I used ready-sliced rib eye, usually used for Shabu Shabu, or just buy a couple of steaks and thinly slice them up.) Try to leave this for a couple of hours or so to allow the marinade to soak in to the meat.
- The dressing: Throw it all into a bowl and stir with a spoon to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- The salad: Get your pan on the heat and add some oil. Throw in the beef and onions and fry until cooked. Take off the heat and add in the coriander. Stirring this through will cause the coriander to wilt. That’s fine. Add in some of the dressing, and potentially a little dissolved cornstarch in cold water to thicken the sauce if needed. Add in some of the crunchy roasted rice and stir through again.
- Plating up: Use a serving dish that has three separate receptacles.
- Plate 1: Lettuce, drizzled with the remains of the dressing.
- Plate 2: Tomatoes, sprinkled with a little salt & pepper.
- Plate 3: The beef. On top of the beef I drizzled a little more of the dressing and a sprinkle of the roasted rice. To eat, take a lettuce leaf, place some tomato on that and then some of the beef. Roll it up and enjoy!
Read more of Brian’s food adventures here.