Thai beef salad with papaya

    35 min

    Sweet juicy papaya, crisp leaves and aromatic herbs are a sensational combination in this Thai-inspired salad. Thai fragrant rice – jasmine rice simmered in stock and scented with lime leaves – is the perfect complement. If you can't get fresh lime leaves easily, they are available in jars at some supermarkets.

    3 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 2 thick-cut lean sirloin steaks, about 450 g (1 lb) in total, trimmed of fat
    • 250g (8½ oz) jasmine rice
    • 1.2 litres (2 pints) chicken stock
    • 4 fresh lime leaves, crushed
    • 2 tsp sunflower oil
    • 2 firm, ripe papayas, peeled, seeded and sliced
    • ½ small cucumber, halved lengthways, seeded and sliced across
    • 20 fresh mint leaves, shredded
    • 15g (½ oz) fresh coriander, chopped
    • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 Little Gem lettuces, separated into leaves
    • Thai lime dressing
    • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 1 tbsp clear honey
    • grated zest and juice of 1 lime
    • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
    • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
    • 1 fresh red chilli, or to taste, seeded and finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • To garnish
    • 4 tbsp roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
    • sprigs of fresh mint

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:35min 

    1. First make the dressing. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Spoon 3 tbsp over the steaks and set aside to marinate while you cook the rice. Reserve the remaining dressing.
    2. Put the rice in a saucepan with the stock and lime leaves. Bring to the boil, then cover and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until tender.
    3. While the rice is cooking, pat the steaks dry with kitchen paper. Heat a ridged cast-iron grill pan or non-stick frying pan over a high heat until hot. Brush with the oil, then add the steaks and cook for 2½ minutes on each side. The meat will be rare. Cook longer if you prefer it medium or well done. Remove the steaks to a chopping board and leave to rest for a few minutes.
    4. Place the papayas, cucumber, mint, coriander and red onion in a bowl. Add all but 2 tbsp of the remaining dressing and toss gently to mix.
    5. Drain the rice well and divide among individual plates. Arrange the lettuce leaves on the plates and top with the papaya salad. Slice the beef into strips, arrange on top of the salad and spoon over the remaining dressing. Garnish with the peanuts and mint sprigs. Serve at room temperature.

    Another idea

    For a Thai red curry and orange dressing, mix together 2 tbsp sunflower oil, 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp light soft brown sugar, 1 tsp Thai red curry paste, ½ tsp grated orange zest and 3 tbsp orange juice. * Make a Thai lamb salad. Use lean lamb leg steaks in place of the beef, and the Thai red curry and orange dressing (see left). Before cooking the lamb, put 2 quartered and seeded red peppers on the grill pan, skin side down, and cook for 4 minutes or until blackened; cool, then skin and chop. In place of the papaya salad, toss the peppers with 400 g (14 oz) halved cherry tomatoes, 100 g (3½ oz) bean sprouts and 2 thinly sliced courgettes.

    Plus points

    * Beef is an excellent source of zinc and a useful source of iron. Iron from red meat is far more easily absorbed by the body than iron from vegetable sources. Choose lean varieties. * Papaya is a useful source of vitamin A (from the beta-carotene it provides), which is needed for good vision. This tropical fruit plays a vital role in preventing blindness in many parts of the world where those foods that provide most vitamin A in the UK (full-fat milk, cheese, butter, egg yolks) are not part of the average diet. Papaya also provides good amounts of vitamin C and useful amounts of the micromineral magnesium.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc. Good source of iron. Useful source of folate, potassium, selenium, vitamin A.

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