Saturday, July 25, 2009

Slow Travel Sunday Salad Sampler # 14 (7/26): Thai Beef Salad (Yam Neua)

This week's selection was made by Maria, My Place in the Sun. After reading Candi's blog (Candi's Corner: Wanderlust and Passions) about her wonderful trip to Thailand,I was anxious to try Maria's salad. Maria just returned from a recent visit with her family in Atlanta to celebrate her Mom's 90th Birthday. Welcome home Maria and Happy Belated Birthday wishes to your mom. I'm so glad you were there to celebrate this very special occasion with your Mom and family.

While in Atlanta, Maria's niece, Isabel, who grew up assisting her Thai mom in Atlanta Restaurants, shared this recipe with her. Isabel prepared two versions of this salad, one with beef and the other with shrimp and Maria posted her recipe and the photos of her salad on the Slow Talk Gold Star Food Forum.

I made the dish today even though it wasn't Sunday. Told you I was anxious. :) I found it very delicious and so easy to make. I loved the combination of ingredients and although it was a sizzling day today, I added a bit more chili. I followed her recipe, using Serrano chili and choosing baby spinach. I mixed some minced garlic and pepper with some olive oil and basted my shrimp as they cooked on the grill. Yum!

Thank you so much Maria! And please thank your niece, Isabel, too for sharing her delicious salad recipe with us. I am definitely going to make this again!

And here is Maria's detailed instructions for her wonderful recipe:

This salad is one of the favorites in restaurants and home kitchens alike in Bangkok and Central Thailand. This version was given to me by my niece Isabel who for many years assisted her Thai mom in Atlanta-area restaurants.


1 lb tender beef steak, such as top sirloin (I used shrimp)

For the salad:
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise in half and thinly sliced
1-2 Thai bird’s-eye chilies or according to taste (I use 1-2 serrano chilies)

For the sauce:
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 - 3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions

Grill beef until medium to well-done. Slice thinly on the bias and set aside. Combine all the salad ingredients and add the sliced beef. Make the sauce by mixing together all the ingredients and toss with the salad.

Serve over a bed of green lettuce (e.g. Romaine) whole or chopped, or place individual servings over a large lettuce leaf.

Variations - Mint and sliced shallots can be added to the salad. Grilled shrimp or calamari may be substituted for the beef. Instead of lettuce, the salad may be served with a wedge of fresh cabbage. Palm sugar (or any other sugar) may be added for a slight touch of sweetness.

This salad uses many of the same ingredients in Jerry's Thai Chicken Salad. So the same seasoning guidelines posted for his recipe can be followed for this salad: Adjust the seasonings – there should be a balance of hot, sour, and salt. To adjust seasonings in Thai food follow these rough guidelines . . . if it is too sweet add more fish sauce . . . too salty add more sugar . . . not tangy enough - add more lime juice . . . not hot enough - add more chili


  1. I also made the shrimp version, not a beef fan here, and absolutely loved it! It is so delicious, and so Thai. It make me miss all the great food we had in Thailand, I really would like to visit Thailand again.

    Your salad looks great! And I agree, very easy to pull together, and the taste is great! A definite winner.

    Happy Sunday Kathy.

  2. Wasn't this a great recipe? Yours looks so beautiful. The baby spinach was a great idea. I didn't realize that Thai food was quite so easy to make and I'm a convert now. I made the shrimp version too and loved it.

    It's sizzling here this weekend too. Hope you're having fun and keeping cool!

  3. Hi Candi, I remember your cooking class posts while I was making my salad. I can see how this delicious salad recipe would make you miss the food in Thailand. I would really like to visit Thailand one day, so I have really appreciated all the wonderful blogging that you did.
    Thanks for your comments and have a great Sunday too!

    Hi Annie, I agree that this was a really great recipe. And I thought it was easy to make too. It has been a sizzler here too. What I would do for a nice serving of Gelato! Just got home and went straight for the portable AC unit! It will stay on until late tonight, it's so hot. :) Hope you stayed cool and had a great weekend! Here's hoping the weather cools down for everyone this week. Have a great Sunday evening.

  4. Hi Kathy, great looking salad! I’m so happy that you liked the recipe and that you were looking forward to making it. Great idea on basting the shrimp with garlic and pepper while grilling it. Thai food is very un-complicated and healthy -- lots of veggies and hardly any fat.

    I made a glass noodle salad from a recipe Candi generously forwarded to me from her cooking class in Chiang Mai. I’ll post a photo with recipe when I get going with blogging regularly.

    I hope the weather has cooled down for you and that you are having a great week.

    p.s. I posted a reply to your comments on my last entry but just in case you don’t see it I wanted to thank you for your kind comments and also for always being so thoughtful and sweet.

  5. Hi Maria, welcome back from your camping trip! Thanks so much again for passing on this great recipe. It does seem like Thai food is very healthy with all the vegetables and all. I'm looking forward to reading your post on the glass noodles. That's so cool that Candi forwarded the recipe for it. It sounds delicious just reading about it.

    Maria, that was such a great blog post that you did with all your wonderful family photos. I just came back after reading your comments! I appreciated your reply and enjoyed revisiting your wonderful entry and looking at all of your family photos. It was great reading your additional comments too! Glad to read that you had a nice relaxing time camping with your family this past weekend. I'm really looking forward to reading more about both your trips.

    It has cooled down a little but not by much. August is probably the hottest time of the year here and with the humidity it can set the electricity grid in high gear. :)

    Thanks again for your comments and have a great day today. Hopefully its not to hot for you too.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.