Vietnamese-Style Beef Salad Recipe

Vietnamese-Style Beef Salad Recipe Recipe

Though I live in a house full of vegetarians, once in a while, I enjoy a tender and juicy steak. I’ve been getting the urge lately, so I bought a sirloin steak to satisfy my cravings. This time around I marinated it in an Asian-inspired sweet and savory sauce. I combined sugar, coriander, chiles, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice; the ingredients are very common in Vietnamese cuisine.

The meat doesn't require a long marinating time, which I love. A quick sear and you’ll have a perfectly juicy steak. I let the meat cool to temperature, then slice it into long strips against the grain, so the meat remains tender. The beef is scattered over a bed of mixed Vietnamese mint, cilantro and lettuce leaves, along with a bowl of rice vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, shredded cucumber and pickled carrots and daikon. My condiment of choice though: nước mắm (Vietnamese fish sauce). It may not be on your list, but it’s one of my favorites. No matter what you serve with this steak though, you will have a delicious meal!


Yields: 2 servings

1 pound beef steak
1 tablespoon sweet cooking rice wine
½ teaspoon red chili powder
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely minced
¼ teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1-½ teaspoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly cracked
juice of a lime
1-½ tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups mixed Asian greens (Vietnamese mint, cilantro and lettuce leaves)


In a shallow dish, combine the cooking wine, red chili powder, garlic, paprika, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice and black pepper. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved.

Pat the steak dry using a paper towel. Cut the steak in half. Place the steak in the baking dish, ensuring it's coated in the marinade. Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes, but no more than 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Pat the meat dry one more time. Season with salt.

With a brush, grease a cast iron skillet grill (a regular frying pan will work, but you won't get the nice grill marks) with oil and heat until it's really hot, almost to the smoking point. Add the shallots and the beef in the pan (still on high heat) and cook for 2-3 minutes.  It's important that you do not pierce the meat so it stays moist and tender. You want to create nice grilling marks. Flip the meat on the other side, using tongs. Grill for another 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the beef for about 7 minutes for medium-rare.

Remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Let the meat sit until the meat cools completely before slicing. Transfer the beef to a platter.

Thinly slice the steak cross-wise (against the grain), so the meat remains tender. Serve the beef on a bed of greens or a baguette sandwich (bánh mì).

Serve with rice noodles, the usual Vietnamese condiments (cucumber, bean sprouts...) and nước mắm.

Bon appétit!


You can check the doneness of the meat by using a digital thermometer. (You can get a digital thermometer at IKEA for a reasonable price). Here is a guideline for the degree of doneness of the steaks.

Rare: 130°F. Gently press the steak with your finger; there should be light resistance.

Medium-rare: Between 145°F and 150°F. Gently press the steak with your finger; there should be resistance against the crust and juice should come to the surface.

Well done: Between 155°F and 170°F. The flesh should be firm to the touch.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on March 7, 2011.


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