A spicy Thai beef salad

Spicy, citrusy and easy to make.Every spring, we get requests for this tasty and authentic salad, so here it is. It can be doubled, if you are feeding a couple or a family. It is fancy enough for company, and a snap to make. You can leave out the fried onions if you can’t find them, or are really watching calories, and ditto for the peanut topping. 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 two to three people:
 
1 lb. thinly sliced lean beef minute steak or fondue beef. Salt lightly, cook quickly, and set aside to chill.
 
Vinaigrette
 
Mix in a bowl large enough to hold the salad:
 
2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce. I prefer 3 Crab Brand, but any will do. It is now available in most local food shops these days. This is a key ingredient, but if you really 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 it otherwise. It is a key flavour. If you can’t, you’ll still have a tasty salad.
 
2 tbsp. Kecap Manis (this is sweet Indonesian soy sauce) or regular soy sauce plus 1 tbsp. brown sugar or 1 pkg. Splenda
 
Grated the 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/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. Slice them into 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. Noodles 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 peeled and thinly-sliced or grated carrot.
 
4-6 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.
 
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 a perfect double-up recipe for lunch the next day. Try it and you will be addicted.
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