Yam Neua

Yam Neua

A creation worthy of a celebrity chef, yam neua blends
grilled beef with Thai herbs, lime juice, palm sugar, fish
sauce and lashings of chilli. This is salad for grown-ups!

Origins
The model for this supercharged salad was yam yang nam tok, aka ‘waterfall beef’, from Isarn province in northeast Thailand. The waterfall in question is juices dripping from the grilled beef, which blend with lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar to form a spontaneous dressing for the fragrant coriander and mint leaves and punchy sliced shallots and chillies. It’s as refreshing as an early morning dip in the Andaman Sea and as fiery as a blast furnace.

SERVES 4

You’ll need
400g (14oz) sirloin steak
1 tbs vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice from 1 lime
4 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs palm sugar
10 bird’s-eye chillies, cut
lengthways
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and
thinly sliced
5 shallots, peeled and sliced
Large handful of mint leaves
Large handful of fresh
coriander (cilantro) leaves,
coarsely chopped
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced

Cooking Method
1 Rub the meat with vegetable oil, salt and pepper and then grill over high heat in an iron pan to medium rare.
2 Remove from the heat and slice the steak thinly with a sharp knife and set aside.
3 Mix the lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar in a small bowl, then add the chillies and garlic and set aside.
4 Mix the shallots, mint leaves, coriander leaves, cucumber and beef slices together in a serving bowl, stir in the dressing and serve.

Tasting notes
Whenever you take salad beyond the realms of sliced vegetables, you know something special is going to happen. Yam neua is less a side salad than a roast dinner served on a bed of fresh herbs, with a secret chilli payload that will have steam coming out of your ears. As you bite into the first mouthful, fresh herbs and lime juice mingle on the palate, but it only takes a second for the raw power of the chillies and shallots to punch through. Eating yam neua is an exquisite balance of pleasure and pain caused by those contradictory Thai tastes – hot and sour, sweet and salt – that sound so wrong, but taste so right.

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