1. Easy spicy Thai beef salad

    abcThaiBeef6.jpgClick on top title to open and scroll  Every summer I rerun this recipe for Easy Spicy Thai beef salad because it is so popular. At first, I hesitated to publish it at all because the list of ingredients can look a bit daunting.

    You can make this popular takeout dish with quickly-sautéed firm tofu, leftover chicken, or – my favourite substitution – shrimp. The type of beef used in this recipe is very low in fat, so it is relatively healthy. Besides, it is outrageously delicious.

    This tasty Thai concoction is perfect for a beginner or experienced cook. It can be doubled, if you are feeding a couple or a family. It is fancy enough for company and can be made in advance. You can leave out the fried onions and peanut topping if you can’t find them, or are really are watching calories.  Replace both with a crunchy grated carrot; you will never know the difference. There are substitutes for some of the more exotic ingredients. The recipe will be delicious with all variations. The key ingredients don’t change.

    For 2-3 people:

    1 lb. thinly sliced lean beef minute steak or fondue beef. Salt lightly, cook quickly, and set aside to chill.


    Mix in a bowl large enough to hold the salad:

    2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce. I prefer 3 Crab brand, but any will do.

    Fish sauce is available in most local food shops these days. This is a key ingredient in many Southeast Asian recipes, but if you can’t locate it and want to try this recipe, try a large spoon of anchovy paste. Dissolve it in a bit more lime juice. If a fish allergy is the problem, try adding salt to taste to the finished sauce. But do try to find fish sauce; it is a key flavour. If you can’t, you’ll still have a tasty salad.

    2 tbsp. Kecap Manis (this is a sweet Indonesian soy sauce) or regular soy sauce plus 1 tbsp. brown sugar or 1 pkg. Splenda.


    Grated rind from one clean lime

    Juice of 1½ to 2 limes

    1½ inches of fresh ginger

    2 cloves of crushed garlic

    1 pkg. of Splenda/1 tbsp. sugar or honey

    2 tsp. Kadoya Sesame Oil with Cayenne or any brand sesame oil plus 1 tsp. cayenne, or to taste


    Add the slightly-chilled meat

    For a vegan version, use extra-firm tofu, sliced in thin sticks. Dry and give them a quick sauté in a non-stick pan with a little oil and a clove of garlic. Cool, cube, and add to the sauce.


    Cook the noodles.

    Use Oriental egg noodles that come in small “nests” – one per person. Or you can use Japanese soba or buckwheat noodles, cellophane noodles, or even spaghetti, if that is what you can find. Do not overcook your noodles. They take only minutes in salted boiling water. Rinse your noodles in cool water to stop the cooking, and drain. Toss with beef and sauce.


    Add and Toss:

    One thinly-sliced red pepper

    One carrot, peeled and thinly sliced, or grated

    4 to 6 green/spring onions, sliced on an angle

    Roll and slice fresh washed and dried basil and cilantro in a technique called chiffonade. About ¼ cup each or to taste. (These herbs are key.)

    Optional: 1/8 cup French fried onions from Asian shops or in a can from the grocery. Durkee is a popular western brand. I like to buy mine at the Asian grocery.

    Toss the salad and chill. Serve garnished with sliced cherry tomatoes. Top with a few peanuts or some grated carrot.

    This looks and smells divine. It is perfect doubled-up for lunch the next day.