Vietnamese Beef Salad

Vietnamese Beef Salad

I love Vietnamese food, my wife and  I have travelled to Vietnam often and every time we go, we discover something new and delicious. This is my take on a simple yet delectable dish.

Beef is very expensive in Vietnam so a similar cut of pork, duck or chicken is often used but given that I live in NZ we are fortunate to have the luxury of grass fed beef available to us in fairly plentiful supply, it is a bit on the pricey side but it doesn’t have to be. In this recipe I am using skirt steak, it is around the $15NZD per kilo and is perfect for cooking medium rare and slicing it thinly for service.

For the beef Marinade

3 tsp crushed garlic

3 tsp crushed ginger

1 Tblspn peanut oil or similar (soya, canola, coconut etc)

3 tsp chopped and crushed lemongrass

1 Tblspn 5 spice powder

1 tsp sugar

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

1 Tblspn fish sauce

Method Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix to a paste. Smother beef with marinade and leave to marinate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Heat a skillet (or BBQ) until smoking hot and cook the beef as you would a big steak, depending on the size, about 2 and a half minutes each side, less if you like it to be rarer. Then take the steak off the heat, cove with some foil and rest for a good 10-15 minutes.

While the meat is resting start on your salad;

I use whatever is seasonal and plentiful, it’s Autumn at the moment so I’ve used;

Red cabbage, red onion, carrots, green chillies, chives (3cm lengths), cucumber and red capsicum. I also toss through some fresh herbs, coriander, mint, vietnamese mint and basil.


I use a julienne peeler for the carrots and cucumber but finely slice the other vegetables lengthways with a knife; and I mean finely, it looks nice and you don’t end up with half a raw cabbage in your gob. Tear the fresh herbs you have into the salad and toss them through. It’s up to individual taste as to how many you put in the salad, I would suggest half a cup of each, stick with asian flavours though, such as the ones I have listed above.

For the dressing;

1-3 birdseye chillies, finely sliced (optional)

1-3 cloves of garlic finely grated or crushed

2-3 tsp sugar

20 ml fresh lime or lemon juice

20 ml fish sauce

The sauce should be a balance of sweet, savoury, heat (if using chilli) and acid.


For service:

Take a decent quantity of the salad and place in the centre of the plate, drizzle about half a tablespoon of the dressing over it.

Slice the beef across the grain and gently lay it on top of the salad and drizzle with a little more dressing.

Serve it with a side of fresh rice noodles or fluffy steamed white rice.




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