Monday, 4 February 2013

Beef waterfall salad

I know that what most people love about the Thai Cuisine are the curries, but what I love most of all are the salads. They are nearly always fat free, packed with heat and aromatic to the nth degree. When you eat a thai salad every possible taste bud in your mouth is set alight by the clever balance of flavours that the Thai's encompass in all of their dishes, they are Sweet, Salty, sour, spicy and Aromatic, the combination of these flavours make Thai food addictive. 
Don't be alarmed by the fact that this beef is not cooked, it is extremely common to let the beef marinate in the lime juice as the acid actually cooks the meat. This beef Waterfall salad was the very first salad I tried when I finally made my way to Thailand, I know I am a total chilli junkie and am usually dissatisfied unless I either sniffing, crying or sweating, I love the burn, but on this occasion I think I had bitten off more than I could chew pardon the pun, it was as though I had swallowed a stick of dynamite. I have toned down this recipe for our gentle British palates but don't be afraid to add more chillies because despite it's bite it packed a huge flavour punch. Why is it called waterfall salad? I have heard that it is because it the if grilled the juices from the meat drip onto the charcoals or makes your mouth water, I prefer the latter.

You will need:
100g segmented pomelo (not traditional, I just like the freshness and presentation)
350g of flat iron steak or fillet of beef
1 red birds eye chilli
2 green birds eye chillies
1 garlic clove
50g of shallots
1/2 tsp of salt
3 tbsp of palm sugar
1 lemon grass stalk inner
1 tbsp of water
1 tbsp of fish sauce
2 tbsp of raw rice that has been dry fried in a frying pan until toasted, then pounded to a fine powder
the juice of two limes
2 tbsp of coriander stalks
75g of sliced cucumber
About 20 thai sweet basil leaves

In a pestle and mortar bash the garlic, chillies, shallots and coriander stalks along with the salt and palm sugar until you have a smooth paste. Add the lime juice, fish sauce and water until you have a dressing. Very thinly slice the beef and pour over the dressing and allow it to marinate for at least and hour. Arrange the pomelo segments and cucumber slices on a plate ready for the beef. Sprinkle the beef with the toasted rice powder and toss the thai sweet basil through, pour the beef onto the cucumber and pomelo and serve with very sticky rice. Heaven on a plate.

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