Classic Thai Beef Salad (Yum Nua)
Thai beef salad (Yum Nua) made with grilled beef steak! This Asian beef salad recipe is incredibly easy to prepare and makes an excellent option for those following a low-carb or gluten-free diet.
“This is a great recipe. My family loves it. We are having it for dinner for the third time in a month.“Hutch
Best Asian Salad Recipe
If you’re a fan of Asian salads, experience one of the most popular salad of Thailand with this Thai beef salad recipe. Often referred to as Yum Nua or Asian steak salad, this refreshing Asian summer salad delivers authentic flavors reminiscent of a Thai restaurant, guaranteed to quench your Thai cuisine cravings.
Thai beef salad features grilled beef steak mingled with cucumber, tomato, shallot, fresh chili, and aromatic herbs. The zest comes from a dressing made with fish sauce and lime juice, capturing the essence of authentic Thai cuisine.
Understanding the harmonious balance of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy is essential in Thai cuisine and other Southeast Asian cuisines. Begin with my recipe for the salad dressing, then adjust according to your taste preferences.
This beef salad is not only easy to prepare but also incredibly satisfying and healthy. It’s a perfect choice for those following low-carb and gluten-free diets.
Hungry for more Asian salad adventures? Don’t miss out on my Vietnamese Chicken Salad recipe– it’s a sure hit!
Choice of Beef Steak
Any tender cut of beef is suitable for this Thai beef salad recipe. While I prefer to use tenderloin in my beef salad, rib-eye, striploin, or sirloin steak would also work well.
For a richer beef taste, you might want to use skirt steak or hanger steak in this recipe. Ensure you grill these cuts correctly to maintain tenderness and avoid overcooking.
Important tip to remember: Make sure to bring your steak to a room temperature before you begin grilling, about 30-45 minutes. Cooking a cold steak can result in uneven cooking.
Fresh Herbs for Thai Beef Salad
To achieve the full flavor and taste of Thai salad, I recommend using a combination of fresh cilantro and mint. You could also add a small amount of Thai basil for an extra layer of fragrant herb flavor.
Personally, I prefer tearing the herbs with my hands instead of slicing them with a knife. I find that this method enhances the flavors and aromas of the herbs. While I can’t explain why this is the case, it seems to make a difference in the taste of the final dish.
For Beef Steak
- Beef steak: Beef tenderloin is an excellent choice, but sirloin or striploin steak would also work great
- Soy sauce: to season and flavor the steak
- Black pepper: aromatic ingredient
- Cucumber: remove the seeds
- Cherry tomatoes: cut in half
- Shallot: replace with red onion if not available
- Herbs: Fresh cilantro and mint
For Salad Dressing
- Fish sauce: seasons and adds umami to the dressing
- Lime juice: adds tanginess and sourness to the salad
- Fresh red chili: adds spicy heat
- Palm sugar: If not available, replace with brown sugar
How to make Thai Beef Salad
Quick Prep for Thai Beef Salad
- Season your raw beef steak with soy sauce and pepper, then let it marinate for 15 minutes.
- While it’s marinating, halve the cucumber and remove the seeds, then slice. Halve the tomatoes, thinly slice the shallot, and gently tear the herbs.
Grilling the steak
- Place your steak on an extremely hot grill to achieve those desired grill marks. Cook until it reaches your preferred level of doneness.
- After grilling, allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain with a sharp knife.
Thai beef salad dressing
- If using palm sugar, grate about 1 tablespoon. If you can’t find it, use light brown sugar instead of white sugar for a caramel flavor.
- Extract juice from the lime and finely chop the fresh red chili. For a milder kick, consider removing the chili seeds.
Dressing and Salad Assembly
- In a small bowl, combine fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and chili. Adjust the taste for sweetness, saltiness, and tartness as desired.
- Remove the seed from the chili if you prefer less spicy dressing.
- In a large bowl, mix beef, cucumber, tomatoes, shallot, and herbs. Add roughly 3 tbsp of the dressing and mix. Add more dressing if required.
- It’s best to serve the Thai beef salad right away. You can chill the leftover in the fridge, and the flavor will get stronger as it chills.
What to Serve with Thai Beef Salad
Thai beef salad (Yum Nua) is a flavorful dish that pairs well with various other dishes. I typically accompany it with simple steamed jasmine rice. Here are some delightful pairings to consider:
- Thai Red Curry Chicken
- Papaya Salad (Som Tam)
- Thai Hot and Sour Soup (Tom Yum Goong)
- Thai Basil Fried Rice
- Pineapple Fried rice
Other Authentic Thai Recipes
- Beef Massaman Curry
- Chicken Pumpkin Curry with Homemade Yellow Curry Paste
- Tom Yum Goong
- Thai Beef and Basil Stir-fry
Classic Thai Beef Salad (Yum Nua)
- 3/4 lb (340 g) beef tenderloin, rib-eye, sirloin, or striploin, room temperature
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- dashes pepper
- 2 small cucumber or 1 English cucumber, seeded and sliced
- 4 oz (113 g) cherry tomato, cut in half
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) mint, loosely packed and torn
- 1/4 cup (60 ml ) cilantro, loosely packed and torn
- Season your beef steak with soy sauce and pepper. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Grill your steak over a very hot grill to get the grill marks. Cook to your desired done-ness. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly across the grain.
- For the salad dressing, mix together the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and chili in a small bowl. Taste and adjust sweetness, saltiness and tartness according to your taste.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, cucumber, tomato, shallot, and herbs. Drizzle about 3 tbsp of dressing and toss together. Taste and add more dressing if needed.