One look in my pantry and you will be able to tell what my favorite type of food is. My cupboards are full of ingredients that seem foreign and random to most, but to someone familiar with cooking Thai or other southeast Asian cuisines they would be common and familiar.
Working in a Thai restaurant really changed my outlook on food. Both in terms of flavor and health. While at first, the cuisine was completely foreign to me, I soon came to respect the use of fresh, bold flavors and the care for balance in bringing out the perfect taste.
In many dishes, this flavor is achieved without using added sugars, and as fish sauce is relied upon for savoriness, they are typically low in sodium as well. Many familiar dishes use soy sauce, but this is actually a Chinese influence on Thai cuisine.
In addition, many dishes come together fairly quickly, making them ideal for a quick meal or snack. Once you have a few staple items in your pantry, it’s just a matter of knowing how much to add.
The type of dish I am making today is typically referred to as a Thai “salad” and comes together in minutes. While “salad” might not be the most accurate translation, think of it as seasoned meat that lends a big punch of flavor when served alongside plain rice.
We start by grilling the steak (usually on the rare side, but you are free to cook it however you like). While grilling, we combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir them together to allow the flavors to combine.
A few notes on ingredients: sticky rice powder is a common ingredient in these types of Thai salads. If you will never use sticky rice for anything else, I would recommend just using plain white or jasmine rice. Simply toast uncooked rice in a dry pan, tossing frequently, until browned and then give it a few pulses in a coffee grinder or food processor. A quarter cup at a time will go a long way, and you can store it in an airtight container for a month or so.
The chili flakes are optional depending on your heat tolerance. A touch of spice will really add to the flavor so I would recommend a pinch to start and then you can add more as you like.
Once the steak is finished cooking, let it rest for about 5 minutes (this allows the proteins to relax and allows the juices to redistribute within the meat), then thinly slice against the grain (perpendicular to the lines/striations you see in the meat, this will help prevent
Now just toss all of the ingredients together in the bowl and spoon over a bowl of rice. Your taste buds will be grateful, it will taste so good it feels like you’re cheating on your diet!
See the full recipe here!
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