Spicy Thai Steak Salad

September 4, 2013

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

If you love Thai food as much as I do, you know it packs a punch of flavor. This salad won't disappoint: seared steak gets bathed in a fragrant dressing of fresh lime juice, robust fish sauce, fiery chilies, and garlic. It is then tossed together with crunchy sliced onions, chives, and cilantro -- get ready for a party in your mouth. I like to serve this with some steamed basmati rice to soak up all the delicious vinaigrette.


Food52 Review: Everyone loves Thai food, right? But it's so hard to reproduce those authentic flavors in your home kitchen. This recipe delivers that delicious flavor with a few simple (and easy to find in the grocery store) ingredients. The spiciness was spot on; hot enough without singeing your taste buds. Although I could have done with a lower onion-to-beef ratio, the combination of the herbs and onions with the lime and fish flavors was just fantastic. Served on steamed rice, it was great. Served as a filler for lettuce wraps, it was mind-blowing. Possibly the best part: It seemed to get even better when I ate the leftovers the next day. LoganEatsFood

Serves: 4


  • 1 pound steak (flank, top sirloin)
  • 1 to 2 fresh red chilies (bird's eye preferred)
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 packet chives, sliced into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped
In This Recipe


  1. In a pan or on the grill, sear the unseasoned steak until browned well on both sides, and cook to medium rare or desired temperature. Allow the steak to rest while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a mortar and pestle, mash together the garlic and chilies to create a paste. Scrape the paste into a large bowl, and add the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Mix well to dissolve the sugar. Add the thinly sliced onions, chives, and cilantro, and toss well to combine. Next, slice the steak into thin, even slices across the grain, and add to the salad. Mix again thoroughly and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Serve with freshly steamed rice.

More Great Recipes:
Salad|Thai|Chive|Lime Juice|Steak|Cilantro|Beef|Entree

Reviews (15) Questions (0)

15 Reviews

krikri December 16, 2017
Yep, this was easy. As well as halving it, I made a few other changes: pork not beef; lemon not lime; parsley not cilantro. Other than that, identical haha. Anyway it WAS easy, it WAS delicious, and yes you can substitute and it will still be delicious. Perhaps I was inspired by this recipe: https://food52.com/recipes/12024-all-purpose-recipe-for-food-a-la-bittman
Melanie November 7, 2016
This was easy and delicious!
Skiingstella August 25, 2015
We enjoyed the flavor of this recipe but found it a bit too salty. I will try cutting the fish sauce by 1-2 Tbsp next time we make this.
cocos C. June 29, 2015
I love a good steak salad, and this one is easy to make and full of flavor. It shows up regularly on our table. Thank you!
Kevin F. March 9, 2015
Was a very good and authentic tasting dish. Agreed with the Food52 comment about the beef-to-onion ratio at first, but the leftovers were delicious!
Burf March 6, 2015
This is fantastic! I found that a 30 minute marinade was a little long for our tastes (the plan is to try 15 minutes next time), but will *definitely* be making this again. Thanks Merav!
nancy W. August 25, 2014
Prepared this dish last night. I served the rice on a bed of field greens and doubled the sauce. So much flavor! I am going to try this with sliced grilled chicken.
Susan L. August 24, 2014
Is this "Crying Tiger " beef ?
Author Comment
Merav September 2, 2014
Susan, while the flavor profile is similar, I don't believe it's the same recipe as Crying Tiger beef.
Yessica May 23, 2014
This will be part of the menu for Saturday's get together. I can barely wait to try it.
sevenfaces May 7, 2014
Delicious! I spent about 15 minutes in total on prep and cooking, yet the results spoke volumes. Doubled the sauce amount so I could serve with thinly sliced cherry tomatoes and cucumber, rocket, lettuce and rice vermicelli. Looking forward to lunch tomorrow too :)
Diana April 20, 2014
Great and easy dinner. Had the salad in a bed of romaine with slices of cucumber on the aide. Will make this regularly!
Author Comment
Merav December 28, 2013
Wow! Just realized my recipe was reviewed - and loved! Now I'm craving it - dinner tonight for sure :)
Roro617 November 10, 2013
As a Thai person, I add chopped mint, use red onion and don't use chives. This has always been a favorite for me.
Nicole October 4, 2013
So excited! This is the third recipe I tried and it was amazingly deliciouuuuuuus! I again, thank you for the recipe. So easy to make.