Annie's Chamorro Kitchen: Thai Beef Salad


Annie's Chamorro Kitchen: Thai Beef Salad

by: Army Lt. Col. Annette Merfalen | .
Annie's Chamorro Kitchen | .
published: June 20, 2017

Thai Beef Salad

This popular Thai beef salad can serve as an appetizer or a meal.  It’s quick and easy to prepare so you can have it on your table in just a few minutes.  Toss your favorite salad greens together then add thinly sliced grilled beef and a drizzle of my delicious Thai-style dressing for a perfect side salad, quick lunch or light dinner meal.

My complete recipe is located at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 

Prepare the salad dressing.  Place all of the dressing ingredients into a small mixing cup, whisking together until you dissolve the sugar.  Set aside.

Next, grill your favorite cut of beef.  I like to use flank steak.  It only takes a few minutes to cook this cut of meat to what I consider perfection — slightly pink on the inside.  You can fire up the grill for this, but I usually use a grill pan and cook it on top of the stove over medium heat.  Season both sides of the meat with some salt and pepper.  Sprinkle some oil in the hot pan then cook the meat for 10 minutes on each side.  Once you place the meat onto the grill pan, LEAVE IT ALONE to cook.  Do not stab or poke at it.  The only time your utensils touch the meat is when you flip it.

See how nicely browned it got?

Don’t worry about the sides not being browned.

Don’t slice the meat right away or all the juices will run out and leave the meat dry.  Once done, remove the meat from the pan and let it rest while you prepare the vegetables for the salad.

It’s time to layer the vegetables. Place the cucumbers at the bottom.  I do it this way so that the salad dressing can start to pickle the cucumbers.

One note about my photos.  As you can see, I’m making individual servings for packed lunches for my husband, daughter and me.

Add the leafy greens next.  I like using hearts of romaine, but any mixed leafy greens will do.

I like adding pre-sliced carrots to add some color and crunch.  Pre-sliced carrots cost a little more but it saves a lot of time in the kitchen too.  My older daughter loves to cook, and I’m still quite leery about letting her use a sharp knife to cut thin slivers of carrots. Pre-cut carrots saves me from worrying about her losing some fingers!

The cilantro leaves get added to the salad next; add as much or as little as you like.  Cilantro is one of those herbs that you either love or hate.  I happen to love it so my salad gets a healthy handful of cilantro.

Thinly slice the red onions and add them to the salad.  I didn’t have any red onions on hand when I made these, so I added sliced green onions instead.

The beef rested long enough by now.  Use a sharp knife to cut thin slices of beef, being sure to cut across the grain.

Add the sliced beef to the top of the salad.


Serves: 4
Prep time:  15 mins
Cook time:  20 mins
Total time:  35 mins


  • The juice of 2 medium limes
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce (I like the Three Crabs brand)
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if the fish sauce is salty enough for you)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 hot chili peppers, diced, optional


  • 1½ pound flank steak
  • Salt and pepper, to season the steak
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for the grill pan
  • 2 English cucumbers, sliced
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 small carrots, julienned
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Any other salad vegetables you like


Make the Dressing
Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small mixing bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Grill the Meat
Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper. Place a grill pan over medium heat. Add the oil to the heated pan then cook the meat for 10 minutes on each side. Once the meat is done, set it aside to rest before slicing. After resting for about 15 minutes, thinly slice the meat against the grain.

Make the Salad

  1. Layer the cucumbers, salad greens, carrots, cilantro, and any other vegetables you like in a small salad bowl or plate.
  2. Add the thinly sliced beef to the top of the salad.
  3. Drizzle some salad dressing over the beef and salad greens.

Serve and enjoy!

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