Yum Nua

“When it comes to beef salad, there is no other way but spicy,” says chef Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon of Kalaya restaurant in Philadelphia. Bursting with sliced aromatics like chiles, garlic, and lemongrass, it’s as spicy as it is bright, with handfuls of herbs and plenty of lime juice. The salad’s adaptability has made it a mainstay in her life, as well as on the menu at Kalaya. In this version, she swaps the Thai eggplant she uses in the restaurant for tomatoes. But, she advises, “You can throw in any vegetable you have, as long as you have the main ingredients: the beef and all the herbs.” The toasted rice powder is key for adding texture and a hint of smokiness. Toasting your own (preferably using sweet rice, but any white rice will work) is the way to go.


Dressing and rice powder

  • ½ cup sweet white rice or regular short-grain or other white rice
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Beef and assembly

  • 1 lb. top sirloin steak, New York strip steak, or other nicely marbled cut of beef, sliced ¼" thick
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for grate or skillet
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb. small and medium tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, tops trimmed, tough outer layers removed, very thinly sliced
  • 2 long hot chiles, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1 lb. cucumbers, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
  • Lime wedges (for serving)

Special equipment

  • A spice mill or mortar and pestle

Recipe Preparation

Dressing and rice powder

  • Place rice in a medium skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, tossing often, until golden brown and deeply nutty–smelling, 12–15 minutes. Let cool, then finely grind in a spice mill or mortar and pestle; set aside.

  • Meanwhile, stir lime juice, fish sauce, red pepper flakes, and sugar in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Season with salt and black pepper.

  • Do ahead: You can toast and grind the rice a few days in advance (as Suntaranon does). If the smokiness and aroma have faded at all, just toss it in briefly hot skillet to refresh.

Beef and salad

  • Place beef in a large bowl and add fish sauce, sugar, and 2 Tbsp. oil. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour, or cover and chill up to 1 day ahead.

  • Prepare a grill for medium-high heat or heat a large skillet over medium-high. Oil grate or lightly coat skillet with oil. Season beef with salt and black pepper and grill until browned underneath, about 2 minutes. Turn over and grill on other side just until lightly browned (meat should still be slightly pink in the center), about 45 seconds.

  • Toss tomatoes, shallot, scallions, lemongrass, chiles, garlic, cilantro, mint, 1 lb. cucumbers, and 1 tsp. rice powder in a medium bowl to combine. Drizzle half of dressing over and toss to coat. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.

  • Add beef to salad. Drizzle with more dressing as desired and top with more cucumber slices and 1 tsp. rice powder (save remaining rice powder in an airtight container at room temperature for another use). Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

Recipe by Nok Suntaranon, Kalaya, PhiladelphiaReviews SectionThis recipe was excellent. A simple and delicious summer lunch. We served it on a bed of arugula and subbed out the beef for shrimp. Highly recommend!JWBaierWashington, DC07/27/20Yum nua? Um, no-uh. Bris, this is far from your best recipe. I appreciate the effort, and am eagerly waiting for your next conviction.AnonymousBristol 07/24/20Great recipe! Used bird chiles instead of the crushed pepper, and about twice the fish sauce and sugar in the dressingAnonymousNew York07/23/20Easy recipe that comes together quickly once the veggies are chopped. Would recommend using a large bowl for the veggies, as it overflowed in the medium bowl that was suggested. Used risotto rice and it worked just fine.AnonymousNew York, NY07/22/20Yum, ready to get cooking!

Yum Nua Recipe

Formerly a Secret Family Recipe. A colorful beef salad with the perfect balance of spicy, sour, and sweet.


  • Med-Large (12-16 oz) Tender steak (sirloin, NY strip), choose one that has little to no white lines (and if has thin layer of fat on the outside, cut it off)
  • 5 small cucumbers (the Asian kind), small crispy kind with those tiny/thin seeds (it almost looks like it doesn’t have any seeds)
  • 2 Tomatoes (big and red salad kind)
  • 3-4 stalks (2 tbsp) of Lemongrass (Xả), very optional (I hate lemongrass), but more authentic if you have it.
  • Small bag of fresh basil (Rau Quế)
  • Crushed red pepper (dried kind where you can see the seeds) OR 2 dried Thai chilies that you thinly slice into tiny pieces.
  • Sugar (preferably palm if you can find it)
  • Fish sauce (Nước mam)
  • 2 small or 1 big onion(s) (small, round purple kind that look like shallots or red onions), or 3 shallots.
  • 3+ limes (would not sub lemon, not normally used)

Very very Optional additions:

  • 1 large clove of minced/chopped garlic (can also sauté or use dried fried garlic that can be found at Asian grocery stores).
  • Add thin slices of green apple (grandma’s version)
  • Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and/or mint (remove stems coarsely chop) at end
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • Heat frying pan until hot (no oil) water will sizzle on contact
  • Throw steak on and cook/grill each side (don’t burn it) until little/no blood on outside. It should be no more cooked than medium rare! About 4m per side.
  • Let meat rest so juices soak up. About 5-10m.
  • Slice beef as thinly as can be (up to preference but 1/2 inch thick or less) against the grain.
  • Put meat in bowl.
  • Cut cucumber lengthwise and then slice very thin (translucent) at an angle should be slanted slices. Add to steak bowl.
  • Chop Lemon grass/Xả super thin (if using, good to sauté in a tiny bit of oil over high heat before adding to mix so it’s more aromatic).
  • Cut tomatoes in halves or quarters, remove seeds/juices. Slice thinly (1cm thick)
  • Cut onions as thin as possible (translucent).
  • Wash basil (Rau Quế) and luc (remove leaves from stems).
  • Throw away stems and slice leaves into tiny pieces (like in Canh Chua).
  • Put everything in one big bowl.
  • Cut 2 limes


The marinade (as are most Asian recipes) are to taste so hard to explain how to make it if you haven’t had it before. I would say 2 limes and 1 tbsp. of sugar should do the trick.

  • 1 tsp. red pepper
  • 1 tsp. MSG (I know I know but this is how they made it growing up. Feel free to omit or sub salt)

*If you serve this with white rice, note that it will seem MUCH spicier as you eat it. It’s a slow burn and rice seems to make it worse. I learned this the hard way.

*I will eventually remember to take a picture after making this dish but Google has a ton!

Using Fresh Herbs In Salad

I don&rsquot know why, but here in the States, we&rsquore not the most fluent with using fresh herbs in our salads. This Thai beef salad highlights one reason that we need to become more familiar with these leafy, green flavor enhancers.

Tossing fresh cilantro and fresh mint in with the greens for this salad adds an incredible burst of flavor that complements the other fresh ingredients so well.

Yam Nua Yang dish (Spicy Thai Grilled Beef Salad) Recipe

Preparation time: 5 min Cook time: 10 min


300 grams beef sirloin
80 grams tomato , sliced (one small sized tomato)
80 grams cucumber , sliced (one average cucumber)
20 grams celery stalk , sliced
20 ml fish sauce
10 grams coriander
10 grams garlic , chopped (2 cloves)
100 grams lettuce
60 grams onions , sliced (one small onion)
20 grams spring (green) onion stalk , chopped
40 ml lime juice 20 grams white sugar (1 1/3 tablespoon)
20 grams chili , chopped
black pepper and salt for seasoning steak

How to make Yam Nua Yang (Spicy Thai Grilled Beef Salad):

1. Wash the steak, remove the fat and season it with salt and black pepper.

2. Grill the steak over charcoal grill or in non-stick pan until medium done. After that, slice the beef into thin slices, and set aside to cool.

3. Once the beef is warm, mix in the tomato, cucumber, onion, celery stalk and spring onions.

4. Mix the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic and chili well. Add to the steak mixture and toss well.

5. Arrange the green lettuce on the serving plate. Pour the beef salad on top.

6. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Spicy Thai Grilled Beef Salad

According to chef Tanai, if you don't have fish sauce at hand you can substitute it with a vinegar, salt and water mixture but the best result is with the traditional fish sauce.

Hope you enjoyed today's easy recipe: Yam Nua Yang (Spicy Thai Grilled Beef Salad). Bon appetite from me and JW Marriott Bangkok.

Thai Beef Salad, 'Yum Nuea'

One of our favorite recipes, the meat is barbequed then tossed with a delicious mixture of sweet, sesame-inspired smoky hot sauce and fresh vegetables. It should be served with jasmine rice, but it's also delicious with sticky rice (soaking up the sauce).

Yam nuea literally means "tossed beef". This is a simple beef "salad", and can be eaten hot or cold. This should be on the hot side of neutral, but really is more spicy than "hot". It is normal to add sunstantial amounts of hot condiments to it to suit yourself (see the section on condiments below).



Ingredients For Salad

  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Onions, Separated
  • 2 Tomatoes, Wedged
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Cucumber
  • 1/4 Cup Thai Chile Peppers, thinly sliced

Ingredients For Sauce

  • 1/4 Cup Fish Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Sweet Dark Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Minced Ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons Chopped Coriander/Cilantro (including the roots)
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Green Onions (spring onions)
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Shallots (small red or purple onions)
  • 1 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Roasted Chili Oil

Ingredients For Namprik Narok

  • Oil to Deep Fry
  • 2 Pounds Filleted White Fleshed Freshwater fish
  • 2 Cups Thai Chile Peppers
  • 1/2 Cup Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Shallots
  • 3 Tablespoons Shrimp Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Fish Sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Palm Sugar

Method for Thai Beef Salad, 'Yum Nuea'

Start with 1 lb beef such as top sirloin, what we used in this recipe.

Barbeque the beef, and thinly slice it into bite sized pieces. Combine with the salad ingredients, and mix the sauce and toss the whole.

Serve with sticky rice, lettuce, condiments and dipping sauce. You can also put a few thai green peppercorns on the bbq and add them with the garnish (makes a very nice touch, as this all goes together very well).


Serve with the usual Thai condiments. You can also add fish sauce, dark sweet soy, and sriracha sauce if you wish.

A useful "auxiliary dipping sauce" is made by mixing one part dark soy with one part Worcestershire sauce, one part fish sauce and one part hot mustard.

Another dipping sauce is the following (known as nam prik narok in Thai, it is translated as "Hell Fire Sauce" in English).

Method For Namprik Narok

Flake the fish and deep fry until the flakes turn golden brown. Chop the chilis, shallots and garlic, then [charcoal] broil them briefly and beat the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle or food processor to form a smooth paste. Place in a small saucepan or wok and cook on medium high until the mixture forms a bubbling paste.

The resultant sauce paste may be stored, when cold, in a tight fitting jar, for several weeks.

Variants: This can also be made with pork (yum moo), or even with shrimp (yum khoong). An interesting variant is to use thinly sliced luncheon meat or even Spam. Vegetarians can experiment with using a julienned vegetable mix in place of the meat.

A Taste of Thai and More!

I received a very good question last week from a friend of mine who has become my blog’s follower, about Thai chili dressing – prink-nam-pla . “How do you use this dressing in your cooking?” Well, we usually have this dressing in a small serving bowl at our dining table. We spoon it over rice or noodles, which is served with other main dishes, a little at a time to add more flavor and spiciness to our food. Then, I remembered I also used them as salad dressing! So here I would love to share with you three salad recipes you would enjoy by simply tossing them with the Thai chili dressing.

1) Thai Beef Salad – Yum Nua: There are variations of Thai beef salad. This is my own take on my three favorite things: steaks + salad + prik-nam-pla. This can be served as a side dish, or main dish with jasmine rice. You can also make variation of dressings, from the prik-nam-pla 1) use dry pepper flakes instead of the fresh chili peppers, 2) add finely chopped garlic for a tastier dressing, and 3) add a little more sugar for a more sweet balance.

Yields: 1-2 persons

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

1 8-10 ounces steak of your choice (I prefer rib-eye), about 1 inch thick, trimmed, at room temperature

Canola oil, for brushing the steak

Coriander powder, salt & pepper

1 1/2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

1/2 medium cucumber, cleaned, seeded, thinly sliced (leave skin for some crunch)

1 small sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced

1 celery stalk, finely sliced

1/2 small red onions, finely sliced

(Optional – 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped)

Dressing: Thai chili dressing – ”Prik-nam-pla” (Ratio: 2 Tsp. thin soy sauce, 1 Tsp. lime (or lemon) juice, 1/2 Tsp. sliced Thai chili peppers, 1/2 tsp. sugar)


1. Brush the steak with a little canola oil and sprinkle well with coriander powder, salt & pepper, pat down the seasoning onto the meat. (The purpose of the oil is so the seasonings stay on the meat to keep all the flavors.)

2. On a preheated grill, or grilling pan over the stove, over medium high heat, the pan will smoke a little when ready (you want to hear a sizzle when you put the meat on the grill,) add the steak. For a ‘medium-well’ doneness, grill for 3 minutes. For beautiful criss-cross grill marks rotate the meat at 90 ° angle. Grill another 3 minutes. Flip the steak over and repeat the step.

3. Remove the steak from the grill and rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes.

4. While resting the steak, layer the lettuce, cucumber, sweet pepper, celery and red onion on a large platter.

5. Slice the steak into thin strips, top them over the vegetables. (The meat can be a little warm, not hot, so it doesn’t wilt the vegetables.)

6. Pour over the dressing, toss and enjoy!

(If you have small kids and want them to share this delicious salad, prepare for them a non-spicy dressing by leaving out the Thai chili peppers.)

On the Grill: Yum Nua Salad

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but when I told a restaurant recently that I had attempted to make one of their signature dishes, it did not take the signature smirk of Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney for me to know that they were not impressed.

It started when I ordered some Thai take-out on a business trip. Looking at the menu, I could not even pronounce the names of the Thai dishes and had never heard of some of the ingredients. Fortunately, they had concise, vibrant descriptions but it did not make the choosing process any easier.

I settled on something called Yum Nua Salad. It was a spicy beef salad, warm, with incredibly diverse flavors. Onion, cilantro, chili pepper, mint leaves, and something called rice powder rounded out the dish. It was served with lettuce and brown rice. My first bite of the salad made me angry. The second, furious! I was steaming mad that I was dining alone, in my hotel room and had no one to share the amazing foreign flavors with.

I got the grill glowing hot and seared off some beef to a medium rare that looked like a pink summersunset.

A few mouse clicks later, I had found a recipe for the ambrosial salad and began planning my mise en place. For me, this is one of the true joys of dining out – when you dine on something that is so interesting, you can’t wait to get back home and make it yourself.

The ingredients were simple enough. The website thai table helped me out with the technique, and it was time to see if the dish could be adapted to cooking on a grill.

I got the grill glowing hot and seared off some beef to a medium rare that looked like a pink summer sunset. I blew the dust off of my seldom-used wok and heated it over the hot hardwood lump charcoal. The wok fits marvelously on my grill and I find that I can get blazing hot temperatures that just could not be achieved on my electric range. The wok instantly came to life when I dropped in the fresh herbs and veggies. The immediate sight, sounds, and smells of Thailand engulfed my back yard cooking space, leaving the neighborhood smelling wonderfully foreign.

I sliced the cooked meat thinly after it rested and added it with its juices to the stir-fried veggies. The salad was finished with some fresh cilantro, mint, lime juice, and rice powder before it got an incorporating toss.

I used iceberg lettuce cups as a serving vessel. Wrapping the warm salad in cool lettuce matched the juxtaposed flavors that danced with the first bite. Its complexity and taste was as diverse as I had remembered. Fortunately, this time I had someone to share it with.

I would be honored if you liked my facebook page Grilling Montana it’s just getting going!

Check out Paul’s other tasty grilling recipes for summer (or any season!) in his blog archive.

Paul moved to Montana in 1996 with about a dozen friends from Lyndon State College in Vermont. He is still reluctantly paying his student loans and has carved out a career working as a supplier representative for various food and beverageproducts.

Paul enjoys grilling after a day on the water or an afternoon in the garden, where he has been known to grow heirloom tomatoes and peppers out of spite. Often cooking for extended family and friends, he takes a whimsical approach to cooking simple, seasonal dishes, while not taking it too seriously.

Paul does all of his grilling on the Big Green Egg Grill, available in Missoula at the Axmen.

You can read more of Paul’s grilling recipes at his blog site, Grilling Montana.

Thai Yum Nua

1 lb lean tender steak, grilled to taste and thinly sliced (medium rare or rare is traditional) – or use warm slices of leftover steak
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
6 large leaves of lettuce, use just enough to provide a pretty bed for the rest of the salad
1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Dressing Ingredients:

10 cloves of garlic
5 Thai chilies or use 3 jalapenos or Serrano peppers
3 T good quality fish sauce
4 T lime juice
1 T sugar

Rinse, dry, de-stem, and grind the fresh garlic and chilies using a mortar and pestle, or use a sharp knife or chopping tool to finely dice.

Transfer the ground mixture to a small dish.

Add the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Stir well and place covered in the refrigerator.

Arrange the lettuce on a platter.

Decorate the lettuce with cucumber, tomatoes, warm steak slices, red onion, and cilantro.

Pour half of the dressing over the salad platter, reserving the rest to serve at the table.

Spoon Mage™ Notes for the non-Thai:

I reduced the usual number of Thai chilies as 10 chilies is too hot for anyone not from Thailand! When you make Yum Nua at home, you are in charge of the heat. Increase or reduce the number of chilies to suit your preference. If you don’t like food to be very hot, taste a small piece of the chili or pepper before adding it to the dressing. Chili and pepper heat varies quite a bit.

The lipophilic chemical Capsaicin, contained within chilies, produces a burning sensation when it comes into contact with skin. Wear kitchen gloves or cover your hands with small plastic sandwich bags when working with them – just be careful not to chop the baggie as it is not a delicious seasoning.

Dip a cucumber slice into the dressing, taste, and adjust the flavors to suit you. If the idea of using fish sauce makes you squeamish, reduce the amount by half and then adjust upward after tasting.

If you cannot find fresh Thai chilies or jalapeno peppers in your area, look in the Asian section of your local grocery store for one of those nice little jars of already ground hot red Asian chilies – my favorite brand has a drawing of a rooster on it and is filled with delicious ground chilies and garlic. Mix in a teaspoon at a time until the dressing is hot enough for you.

If you are not a hot and spicy food person at all, but want to give the other Thai flavors a try, add your favorite mild pepper to the dressing. To make Yum Nua authentically flame on Thai hot – grind 10-12 Thai chilies and garlic in a mortar pestle.

Fry or roast the fillet to 1 below your preferred degree of doneness. While thats happening, process most of the herbs, the lime juice and the fish and soy sauces together. Leave some of the herbs for use as a garnish. When the meat is cooked, slice it thinly. Put the herb mix in the pan and heat through. Add the sliced meat, and simmer or a few minutes. Laty the meat on the salad, and spoon the sauce over it. Sprinkle the remaining herbs and some sliced chillies on top. Great with jasmine rice, not bad with couscous or bread. Posted By [email protected] (Aine.McManus) On rec.food.recipes or rec.food.cooking


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Calories per serving: 1374

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Steak Salad Recipe

Broil or grill the steak until medium rare. When cooked, slice the steak against the grain into very thin slices .

The amount of onion that you should add should be equal to the amount of meat. Mince most of the cilantro and the mint, but set aside a few sprigs of cilantro and mint for a garnish. Put the beef, onion, cilantro, mint, fish sauce, chili pepper and nam prik pow in a bowl and mix together.

Add 3/4 of a lime and taste. Depending on how sour and how juicy your lime is, you might need more. If you need more lime, keep adding just a little. This dish should taste a little hot, and well balanced between the lime and the fish sauce. Serve warm or cold.

Tips and Techniques

  • We use inexpensive flat steak when we buy it just for the recipe, but use any left over steak.
  • Use either red or yellow onion.
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