The Best Recipe for Thai Beef Salad “Nam Tok”

 Growing up, my family engrained in me an affinity for Thai food. It’s hands down my favorite cuisine, there can never be enough coconut milk, chili, or basil in any of my dishes. Of my many favorite dishes (Pad-See-Ew, Spicy Basil Leaves, Panang Curry) is the healthiest of the options, the Thai Beef Salad. This “salad” is the best kind because it is more than just lettuce. It combines vegetables like onions, cucumbers, tomatoes with delicious herbs like mint and cilantro.

Related: Easy Thai Basil Chicken Recipe

Unless you are a vegetarian, the best thing that you can do for your diet is to each 1/3 meat and 2/3 vegetables on your plate. The trick is finding meat and veggies that you actually like so that you aren’t just full but satisfied! This recipe for Thai Beef Salad has become a household favorite in my home and we’ve made it every week since the first time. We do try to limit red meat intake, but this dish is worth it!


This dish may require a trip to the farmer’s market or Asian specialty grocery store, but once you have it you’ll be good to go. I am always hesitant of purchasing $15 in groceries to make a $10 meal, but since we cook this dish every week it’s well worth the investment. Don’t skimp on the following things, you will need it for proper flavor:

  • Thin Soy Sauce. This is the one that I use. Don’t be fooled by the similar name, regular soy sauce is not the same!
  • Fish Sauce I’ve tried a few brands of these and haven’t come across a bad one
  • Thai Chili Powder  This was the hardest to find for me because I couldn’t read the name. I ended up going with this one and luckily I was right! It is “dried Thai chili powder” but often times the labels aren’t in English. Look for the words “Prik Pon
  • Palm Sugar This will be my next purchase. I’ve been using raw sugar, but I’ve heard that palm sugar will be a game changer and easy to use in other dishes too!
  • You probably already have a skillet or grill, but in case you were looking for you new one – I can’t speak highly enough about this cast iron skillet ($15) and this grill ($67). We use each multiple times a week and has made cooking in our home so much easier!

Thai Beef Salad "Nam Tok"
Serves 2
Nam Tok means "Waterfall" and is a Thai recipe that includes beef, vegetables and herbs.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 1 lb of steak (NY Strip, Sirloin, Skirt, or Ribeye)
  2. 3 tbsp thin soy sauce
  3. 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  4. 2 tbsp cooking oil (Canola)
  5. 2 tbsp fish sauce
  6. handful of Basmati rice
  7. 1.5 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar
  8. Juice of 1 lime
  9. 1 persian / english cucumber chopped
  10. 1/2 tsp dried thai chili flakes
  11. 1 tsp toasted sticky rice powder
  12. 1 small shallot
  13. handful of cherry tomatos halved
  14. 2 tsp chopped cilantro
  15. 2 tsp chopped mint
  1. Marinade - In a ziplock bag, combine steak, thin soy sauce, black pepper and oil. Massage to coat steak evenly marinate for at least 20 minutes or overnight.
  2. Grilling - You can grill the steak or cook it on a skillet. We use a cast iron and sear the steak for about 4 minutes on each side. Make sure that the pan is super hot before you place the steak and you don't move the steak once you place it until you are ready to flip it. You want the steak to be medium. Don't forget to sear the side of the steak. Remove from heat and let the steak rest on a plate (so that you can use the juice) for 10 minutes before slicing, against the grain to serve.
  3. Salad - Slice the shallot, cucumber, cilantro, mint, tomato and place in a large bowl.
  4. Toasted rice powder - Take a handful of basmati rice and place it into a small frying pan. Fry the grain with no oil until slightly brown. Then take a mortar & pestle and grind the rice until it creates a small white powder.
  5. Assembly - In a large mixing bowl add in sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and chili flakes all together. Adjust to your liking, each has a very prominent flavor and BE CAREFUL with the chili start with just a pinch and add slowly to your liking. It's a sneaky flavor that is extremely spicy. Stir in sliced steak with toasted rice powder. Toss until steak pieces are coated evenly with the dressing. Add all the vegetables and herbs that we prepared earlier and transfer to a serving plate. Eat with white rice or by itself for a healthy and flavorful meal!
Adapted from Seonkyoung Longest
Simply Sabrina | Atlanta Blogger
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