Whenever I travel to Europe these days I find myself missing the food back home! Not just the simple food, such as a sandwich made with sourdough bread and an ox-heart tomato, but the Asian food that we can so easily make at home or eat in restaurants.
I’ve become hooked on Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Thai food not only because I love the flavours, but also because the ingredients are affordable and easily obtained. I was introduced to the wonders of Thai food more than 20 years ago through Bupah, a friend of Suzanne’s.
She taught us to make Thai fish cakes, a quick beef, chicken or fish curry using prepared curry paste, and this hot Thai beef salad.
Hot Thai beef salad
500g rump or sirloin steak
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup torn mint leaves
x1 large red onion, thinly sliced
Or x2 large spring onions, thinly sliced
x2 red chillies, sliced
x1 large lime or 1⁄2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
a handful mixed salad greens
1 cup cherry tomatoes
a handful rice vermicelli
vegetable oil, for frying
2 tablespoons roughly chopped roasted peanuts
x1 red chilli, halved
lime wedges, for serving
1. Season the steak with pepper and cook on a hot ribbed grill or under a preheated grill for 5 minutes on each side or until done to taste. Remove and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Cut steak into very thin slices and place in a bowl with any meat juices. Meanwhile, combine the mint leaves with the onions, chillies, lime or lemon juice, fish sauce and sugar. Stir well and add to the beef slices, tossing. Combine with the mixed salad greens and cherry tomatoes and set aside.
2. Heat some vegetable oil in a wok, testing the heat with a few strands of vermicelli. It should swell immediately if the oil is hot enough. Fry the vermicelli, scooping out with a wire strainer as soon as they puff and turn pale golden. Drain well on paper towels and cool, then arrange in a bowl.
3. Pile the beef salad on top of the crispy noodles. Scatter with peanuts and chilli and serve with lime wedges.
• You’ll find vermicelli at Asian food stores or supermarkets. There are two kinds: rice vermicelli or mung bean vermicelli (also known as glass, cellophane or transparent noodles). Mung bean vermicelli are made of flour and have a soft, slippery texture; rice vermicelli are firmer and whiter when cooked and are mostly used in fresh spring rolls, laksa and Vietnamese dishes. You can make the salad using either one.
This recipe first appeared in Margaret Fulton Favourites.