Neua Naam Tok is a typical Isaan (Northen Thailand) salad, made with raw vegetables and thinly sliced grilled steak mixed with fresh herbs, lime juice, fish sauce, and chili flakes. In Thai, “neua” translates to “beef” and “naam tok” translates to “waterfall” referring to the blood that spills from the meat as it grills. Not the prettiest image but the resulting dish a perfect balance of spicy, tart, salty, and sweet.
First, prepare the lemongrass flank steak. While the meat is cooling, prepare the rice powder and the dressing.
In a dry medium sized skillet, add the sticky rice. Over medium-low flame, stir the rice constantly until it is evenly golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let the rice cool slightly. Then, in a spice grinder, grind until the rice forms a powder that resembles coarse sand. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for several months.
In a small saucepan, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and lemongrass. Over medium heat, stir the dressing until the sugar is dissolved, 15 to 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and stir in the chili peppers. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
In a large bowl, add the steak slices along with the shallots, rice powder, and about half of the mint and cilantro. Toss to evenly combine and transfer to a plate. To serve, sprinkle with a pinch or two of rice powder and the remaining herbs.
Lemongrass Flank Steak
With a mortar and pestle, pound lemongrass, peppercorns, and garlic into a coarse paste. Scrape it into a zip-lock bag with the steak, add the soy sauce and oil, and then massage the marinade into the steak until it’s well coated. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
While the steak is marinating, prepare a charcoal grill. Grill the steak, flipping once, until medium doneness and lightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, let it rest for about 10 minutes. Slice against the grain into 1/4 inch thick slices.