Yum Nua (Thai Beef Salad) with Shrimp and Squid
While living in Dallas, Texas, I encountered a lot of different food. I talk about it quite a bit on this site, however I think it deserves to be talked about. Sure, I traveled to New York City a couple of times while representing Ad agencies in winning awards for websites back in the day, and was totally amazed that I could walk into a side store and see someone cooking in the back, something amazing. I was blown away by that stuff, don’t get me wrong. But Dallas had a food thing going on as well. Everything from a great greasy spoon, to Middle Eastern cuisine that I just cannot find anymore, to some really amazing Asian food. They had it all, and everything was very accessible.
Granted I realize that I was raised on a lot of comfort food, and being from Indiana, there was a lot of Amish dishes, many of which I can’t share recipes with all of you. They are award winners to say the least, however, when I able to diversify my culinary palette, and realized there was comfort in all cultures, then it clicked. This is one recipe I can share with you. It is a make it your own kind of recipe, where the chili peppers are here for the taking (or not), the saltiness, the sourness, or the sweetness is also here to make it your own. Beef, veggies, seafood, or a mix of the few, you will sure be rocking and rolling after this wonderfully delightful, and fresh salad. I was introduced this salad while hanging out and playing cards with buddies back in the day.
- 1 lb of beef tenderloin
- 1/2 cucumber, skinned, seeded, cut into strips
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of fish sauce (more if you want it saltier)
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar (more if you want it sweeter)
- 2 Thai chilies, chopped (more if you want it spicier)
- 1 stalk of lemongrass, top removed, white part thinly sliced
- 2 kaffir leaves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 of small red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 (31-40) shrimps, cleaned, deveined, and slightly butterflied
- 6 small squid, cleaned, cut into strips (optional)
- Mixed greens, washed and dried
- 20 fresh mint leaves, rough chopped
- 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
- Fresh cilantro, small handful, rough chopped
- salt and pepper to season the beef
Begin by slicing your beef tenderloin into thin slices. Salt and pepper both sides. You can grill, or broil the meat to your desired tenderness. I like mine medium, to medium rare on this salad.
While the beef is cooking, make the sauce, or dressing. Keep in mind that this dressing has the sweet, the heat, and the sour, that makes most Thai dishes rock with. Once you make the sauce, taste and adjust accordingly. Too hot? Add more sugar.
So to a small bowl, add the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, and Thai peppers. I will stop here and let you know how much I truly love the flavors going on with this sauce. It is a perfect balance and goes great with beef, and for that matter egg rolls, or placed over warm rice. Dipping sticky rice into this, along with a cold beer, is another one of those mixtures that are really hard to beat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the shrimp and squid, and cook for a few minutes until they are both cooked. Drain, and toss with some of the dressing.
To plate, toss the beef, shrimp, squid, lettuce, onion, cucumber, and herbs with some of the dressing. When I say some, take a spoon and drizzle some over the mixture, and lightly coat. Taste. If you need more, add more.
Plate the way you would want it presented to you, and dig in.
I can’t tell you enough of how this flavor profile is going to have you coming back for you. The dressing, the herbs, and the meat combination results in a light salad, that is just packed with great flavor. Enjoy.