Yam Neua (Thai Beef Salad – An Exotic Trip in Every Bite)

January 9, 2018
Yam Neua (Thai Beef Salad - An Exotic Trip in Every Bite) - A simple steak salad in which the beef is always grilled and the five flavors of Thai cooking are present and accounted for

We spent the better part of the holidays with jazz playing in the kitchen

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watching Netflix in our jammies, forgetting what day it was, and eating an occasional Rolo for breakfast

Now that the students are back and work seems to be picking itself again, I feel like we're settling into more of a routine.  I love plain, normal, everyday life.  The laundry, the occasional clean sheets, the smell of my husband's morning coffee brewing, the dog asleep on the couch, the weekly spin class with a friend, and the house all to myself during the day

Not long ago a blogger friend wrote the most beautiful thoughts about January

“Any thoughts about detoxing and adjusting our calorie intake are best left to the springtime, in my opinion.  The term that we are all too familiar with ‘The January Blues' can only be accelerated by tiresome attempts at dieting and self-inflicted misery.  Ignore the posts and magazine articles on dieting and toning those abs for a little while anyway.  Instead, spend January planning something beautiful to look forward to. Read a new book, see a couple of movies at the Cinema.  Be kind to yourself and January will become a month noted for its comfort and restfulness.  Have a hot chocolate after work and indulge yourself with the odd massage when you can afford it. Light a fire and snuggle up and life in the coldest of Januarys will become warmer again”     ~ Kathryn | Violinkit

So I've decided to heed her advice and purposed more moments like these.  Days with not so many plans.  The time and space for reading a book, cooking something new for dinner, or enjoying my favorite smoothie because there were blueberries at the co-op and homemade almond milk in the fridge

But mostly what I wanted to say today was, I hope you're doing well. I'd love to catch up and hear how things are going with you

How was your holiday?

Any good books, tv shows, podcasts or movies you're enjoying? (ps: We saw The Darkest Hour over the weekend and it's really good)

Anything delicious you've eaten (or made) lately?

What are you excited about these days?

Anything weighing on your mind?

Planning fun vacations?

Sending lots of love, as always!  Thank you for being here .. xo

A new recipe to share today

It's a beef salad that's a tangle of thinly sliced grilled steak, tossed, with a hot, sour, salty and slightly sweet dressing, shallots and a heap of cilantro and fresh mint; possibly some sliced cucumbers and chopped tomatoes

“Yam” referring to a style of salad-like dishes that are spicy and slightly sour, thanks to the classic combination of Thai flavors

The beef is always grilled, and the five flavors of Thai cooking are present and accounted for. Sweet from the sugar, sour from lime juice, salty from fish sauce, bitter from the charring of the beef, and hot courtesy of the chilies

It's truly something special. The flavors are confident and striking, but they all work together really well. It's wonderful served on its own, but just as great with rice, rice noodles, or even butter lettuce

Note:  A very hot grill (or skillet) is essential for developing a flavorful crust on the meat and rubbing the steak with sugar first increases the char



~ Adapted from Milk Street Kitchen by Christopher Kimball

Thai Beef Salad


  • 2 large shallots, sliced into very thin rings (or ½ of a thinly sliced onion)
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 4 tsp packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 2 or 3 pieces
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 - 3 small fresh red or green Thai bird chilies or serrano chilies, or to taste, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves) - alternately 1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
  • 1 ½ cups (~ 7 oz) red or yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • cilantro sprigs, for garnish


  • In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chilies
  • Preheat the grill or light the charcoals. While the coals are heating, combine 2 tsp brown sugar, salt, and white pepper in a small bowl
  • Scatter the blend on a wide platter and roll the sirloin tips in it until they're thoroughly coated
  • When the coals are blazing hot, cook the sirloin tips on the grill until seared and browned, ~ 3 to 5 minutes a side. The meat will still be rare or medium-rare inside
  • Transfer the steak to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes
  • Thinly slice the steak against the grain, then transfer to the bowl along with any accumulated juices. Add the tomatoes, shallots, scallions, cilantro, and mint
  • Toss to combine
  • Transfer to a platter and garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Calories 432
Total Fat 26.1g
Saturated Fat 10.2g
Carbohydrates 12.2g
Fiber 3g
Sugars 8.4g
Protein 47.5g
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  • Reply Sarah January 9, 2018 at 2:16 am

    I don’t know why I tend to find Thai food so intimidating, but I do. This recipe sounds like it’s right up my spicy alley. ? Can’t wait to try it.

  • Reply Nikki January 9, 2018 at 4:14 am

    My doctor told me last week I was anemic, and therefore should start eating more grass-fed beef. This is definitely a recipe I’m excited to try. I’ve been doing some research and certainly beef is a great source, but so are clams (who knew?) Also, blackstrap molasses. A tbsp has as much as 3 ounces of beef. Not that I’m advocating for molasses by the spoonful, but warm molasses cookies should count for something!

  • Reply Robin January 9, 2018 at 4:28 am

    This sounds like a wonderful salad. I love my beef with a little char, so I will definitely try your method when I make this salad for myself.

    • Reply Sarah Bailey January 9, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      It looks absolutely delicious doesn’t it, there is something wonderful about a good salad as well.

  • Reply Val January 9, 2018 at 7:09 am

    We all need a day without a plan from time to time. (Although when I’m depressed I have more than I care to have.) This dish looks so colorful.

  • Reply Amber Myers January 9, 2018 at 7:16 am

    Our neighborhood Thai restaurant serves this dish. It’s my boyfriend’s favorite. But then, everything better with a friend 🙂

  • Reply Jeanette January 9, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Sounds like you guys had a great Christmas break. We said in her pajamas quite a bit and watched a lot of movies. This dish looks absolutely amazing and I would love to try it.

  • Reply Sarah Honey January 9, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Of all the food blogs that are out there, I keep coming back to you because you’re real. I can relate to you on so many levels and always look forward to new posts. Wishing you a happy and healthy week ahead! ps: this dish looks amazing!

  • Reply Lisa January 9, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Such a colorful meal for this time of year when we rarely see the sun and colors seem to be missing from life. It makes me think of summer and that is not a bad thing when I am freezing.

  • Reply Star January 9, 2018 at 9:09 am

    I totally agree about dieting in Spring. This time of year is definitely best for comforting, warming meals.

  • Reply Franc January 9, 2018 at 9:19 am

    I’m still adjusting to life after the holidays but I did have fun during the holidays. The Thai Beef Salad looks really rich in taste and flavor.

  • Reply Marysa January 9, 2018 at 10:15 am

    I wouldn’t have thought to combine tomatoes and beef, but I love the combination. And so colorful! This sounds like a great recipe, plus I love how pretty it is.

  • Reply Ashley January 9, 2018 at 10:36 am

    I needed some comfort food today while a winter storm is brewing with its wind snow. This was the perfect dish. I used a jalapeno pepper instead of the Thai chilies, and it was really, really good.

  • Reply Star Harford January 9, 2018 at 10:41 am

    5 stars
    I would love to have the time to spend doing nothing! We are good thanks, just getting back into working very hard and getting up very early again! I am looking at holidays to get away from it all! I love the recipe and the pictures make it look so appetising. I love the mix of colours, especially the tomatoes.

  • Reply Mike January 9, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    5 stars
    This looks amazing, I printed this one off so I can make it tonight for dinner. You always have the best food photos.

  • Reply Bonnie January 9, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    5 stars
    Our holiday was great. My granddaughter is 2 so she is just learning how to open presents. It was so cute seeing her oh and ahh over everything. Her ride on train is her favorite toy and she is obsessed with it. Whenever she rides it I sit and make a deal and wave at her. She loves it! I am trying to plan a vacation for this summer but I can’t seem to make up my mind. I want to go to Vegas again and do all the things I missed the first time. I am very excited that my only son turns 18 in two days!

  • Reply Cassie Mayers January 9, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    The recipe looks lovely, I love tomatoes,
    We had a great christmas, and my daughter loved every moment of it

  • Reply Tori January 9, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    To the previous commenter who is anemic, I am too! A friend told me that the best way to load up on red meat was jerky! Lucky for me, my farmer’s market in Chicago has award-winning elk jerky that has more iron than almost any other meat (even bison). With that on hand, you can have a quick snack that doesn’t fill you up but gets the vitamins you need.

  • Reply Leah January 9, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe – will definitely be on the menu this week. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I craved steak unceasingly. And I ate it, I swear, at every meal. And all was well, although I sure do wish I had known about this little gem.

  • Reply Joanna January 9, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    5 stars
    I guess we all need quiet moments from time to time, with not so many plans. I am on a mission though to get healthier, so going to swim every day has to be on my daily agenda. I hope you had great holidays! I’ve spent Christmas cooking actually, taking a traditional Guatemalan cooking class for half a day and relaxing in a hammock in the sun, watching the volcano guarding the city erupting, the other half.

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus January 9, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    I love that you spent the holidays losing track of time and eating rolos in your pjyamas but have ensured that your transition into work has been simpler than before. Taking each day as it comes and not over complicating things is a beautiful thing to behold, although at the moment everything is a little bit crazy in my life, so I am looking forward to things calming down soon. That being said if companies want to send more paid work my way that would definitely help me feel less stressed haha. Still I like that you quoted ‘Kathryn’s post’ as it struck a chord with me too. The essence of January is always associated with ‘detoxing’ and ‘misery’ and I agree it should be a time where you focus on self love and treating yourself.

  • Reply Cristina January 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you for writing so beautifully! I recently started reading your blog after seeing one of your business cards hanging on a friend’s refrigerator. Reading your commentary is like having a good meal: I’m always sorry when I’ve finished, and I always look forward to next time.

  • Reply Sarah Bailey January 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    The transition from Christmas back to work can be so hard, I know the few days after New Year I had to keep asking my other half what day is it, as I was so thrown by the whole having had to pay no heed to it.

  • Reply Joely Smith January 9, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    5 stars
    Mmmm that looks yummy for sure! I will give it a try soon! So much going on already this year isn’t there!? I think the occasional rolo for breakfast is just fine haha! I have been taking things slower this year, just enjoying more ME time!

  • Reply Heather January 9, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    I kinda like this no expectations thing for January. It makes total sense! I mean who wants to go for a jog at 4am in the winter time when it’s freezing anyway? I sure don’t. This looks like an interesting recipe. I’m not a big beef eager, but your picture looks beautiful!

  • Reply Candy January 9, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    You added meat especially beef to a salad. That would be a man pleaser in my household. This would make me feel better knowing they are eating salad. Everyone wins and enjoys a great dish.

  • Reply Pam January 9, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    I love the thoughts about January. January is such a dreary, boring time… no reason to make it worse by dieting or anything extreme.

  • Reply Jill Robbins January 9, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    I am new to your blog ? and I love it..
    You have a new happy follower ?

  • Reply Censie Sawyer January 9, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Today I burned through my to do list and found that I was bored, I felt like I should be up running around. Then I stopped and realized, no this is MY time. Time to sit and read. Ah I so needed that calm down after the holidays.

  • Reply Ricci January 9, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    I’m a bit of a secret fan of a good Thai food. And this recipe looks amazing!

  • Reply Kara January 10, 2018 at 2:17 am

    This looks so healthy and delicious, definitely going to give it a try

  • Reply Kavita January 10, 2018 at 3:28 am

    We enjoyed and did so fun during the holidays. I also love to cook though not having very good cooking skills. During holidays I made Gulab Jamun, famous Indian dessert. This recipe looks amazingly tasty and super healthy. I just love Thai food!

  • Reply Rhian January 10, 2018 at 3:42 am

    I am feeling very much like you and am quite glad to be back into reality and normal every day life x

  • Reply Cristina January 10, 2018 at 3:49 am

    This looks so colourful and warming, perfect for January. I’m trying to stay off meat as much as possible this year, in an attempt to eat more varied and healthy meals!

    My holidays were lovely thanks, just relaxing at home and over-indulging, so hoping to get back on track this month! Glad to hear you treated yourself to some Rolos too 😉

  • Reply Folakemi January 10, 2018 at 4:02 am

    Just made this last night and it was incredible! And so nice and easy and adaptable. I added bell peppers to it for extra color and vegginess. xo

  • Reply Amy January 10, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Oh this looks so delicious!! I visited Thailand last year and one of my resolutions is to cook more Thai food as I loved it so much when I was out there. Bookmarking this x

  • Reply Kirsty January 10, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Sometimes doing absolutely nothing and diving into a good hearty bowl of food is heaven! This Thai beef salad looks divine and I know my husband would enjoy eating this.

  • Reply Melanie williams January 10, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Watching Netflix in PJ’s can be the nicest thing, sometimes just to sit back and chill is great. Along with some yummy comfort food makes it even more better x

  • Reply Jemma January 10, 2018 at 8:15 am

    5 stars
    I love to get back to ‘normality’ after Christmas too, and totally agree with a stress-free January! Your Thai beef salad looks truly delicious 🙂

  • Reply Melissa Dixon January 10, 2018 at 9:31 am

    I have had some times like these but instead of rolos they were rolos on top of pretzels with a shelled candy on top. We grab these treats because they are so accesible during the holidays. Instead of Jazz playing it is Frank Sinatra and other crooners from the old days, reminding me of time spent with my grandmother as a child.

  • Reply Emily Leary January 10, 2018 at 9:32 am

    I absolutely enjoy cooking and trying new recipes – so my family gets a variety of flavors in their world. Had to give this a try and so glad I did. Everyone loved it! Made it three days ago, and the family asked for it again tonight.

  • Reply Sarmistha Goswami January 10, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Yes, I am very well familiar with ‘The January Blues’. In fact am going through that phase right now and good to know it’s a common term and I am not the only one fighting it. I also agree that calorie counting should be left to the springtime. So, I found your post quite motivational that ways, because you told things that I wanted to hear..ha..ha ! 🙂 The recipe looks great by the way, though I cannot eat red meat for health reasons.

  • Reply Lynsey January 10, 2018 at 11:56 am

    5 stars
    This looks delicious and it looks like it would be quick to whip up for the family and Netflix nights!

  • Reply Alicia Trautwein January 10, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    5 stars
    This looks so yummy! I love dishes like these that are full of bright colors and fresh flavors. I am going to have to make this sometime soon!

  • Reply Aileen Adalid January 10, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    I plan that piece about not having so many plans. Given my recent lifestyle, I need to do more ‘breathers’ this year. I tend to forsake resting 🙁

    Either way, I love this dish you whipped up! Reminds me a lot of how I love Thai food so much!

  • Reply Annie B January 10, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    I am currently doing veganuary, but I can make this for my husband and he’d love it! Such colours and flavours in these sorts of dishes.

  • Reply Crystal January 10, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    First, that salad looks amazing…

    You know, the older I get (just turned 40 in Nov) the more I am growing to appreciate each season and what it has to offer. January is new to me. And I don’t mean new year resolution new… Although I know winter started in December, January is typically when it starts to get cold here in Texas. The cold is what makes it “winter” to me. It’s a new season, a fresh chapter, 52 weeks ahead to accomplish something. To make memories.

    You know what we did over the break? I sat in bed late at night and binge watched Roseanne episodes. I love the first season… the year was 1988/1989 and I was about 11 /12 years old. Watching her show reminds me of a simple childhood. A life ahead of me. Even though she can be crude, her character cracks me up. As a mom, I too can be sarcastic as I struggle in the trenches. I can relate to her.

  • Reply Ademola Jumoke January 10, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    The dish looks so yummy, these are times I wish I could materialize what I see on a screen…. The different colors makes it all the more inviting…..

  • Reply Dhemz January 10, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    oh, my goodness! Love those colors…looks very yummy. I would love to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Blair Villanueva January 10, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    5 stars
    I actually never tried a Thai beef, but if this meal will be serve to me, oh boy I wouldn’t decline. Forget about dieting if you have this delicious looking meal. Thai foods are always interesting.

  • Reply Mayuri Saxena January 10, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    5 stars
    Wow! This dish looks delicious. My holidays were amazing…I tried to completely cut-off from work and technology for few days. It was like trying to detox and rejuvenate. I read 3 books in one month and currently, I am reading “The Spy” by Paulo Coelho. Anything delicious I’ve eaten (or made) lately? Oh Yess! I am so excited to tell you that finally I discovered a place that serves the best Butter Chicken in Dubai – tender, juicy, and perfectly marinated chicken, with fine sauce. Have you ever tried Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani (As we call it in India)?

  • Reply Esperanza Scotto January 10, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    This looks so delicious! I’ll have to try this recipe for dinner. We get tired of having the same things over and over again but it’s hard to find inspiration sometimes!

  • Reply Nadalie Bardowell January 10, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    I was just at the grocery store a few hours ago and picked up rice noodles to make pad thai with. I love the taste and different ways to incorporate new flavours!

  • Reply Mellissa January 10, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    Seems hearty but also refreshing and light. Looks like a great combination for gatherings. I love color food.

  • Reply Michelle January 11, 2018 at 7:57 am

    If I could only ever read one food-related blog, it would be yours! Thanks for always brightening my day. x

  • Reply Vanessa Costa January 11, 2018 at 7:59 am

    5 stars
    Hi Alison !! Loved this Thai beef salad! I love Thai food, with a different seasoning, looks yummy… hmm !! And this colorful salad seems amazing !! I will try this recipe this weekend!

  • Reply Jenni January 11, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    The colours in this look immense. Your holidays sound lovely, I haven’t heard of the darkest hour. Will take a peek x

  • Reply Jennifer L January 11, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    3 stars
    I loved your friend’s sentiments about January and just overall taking time to smell the roses per say. It’s def on my goal list this year to have moments where it’s not just go go go. I don’t think I’ve ever had a beef salad before but sounds like a heartier meal for these winter months.

  • Reply Louise January 12, 2018 at 5:27 am

    Ooh, this looks absolutely delicious. I’ve not eaten beef in SO long, and now you’ve got me craving it. I know what I’m doing for dinner now!!

    Louise x

  • Reply Tanya January 12, 2018 at 7:20 am

    This looks delicious, I have to say you capture food so beautifully in a picture. It always looks so inviting and tempting, I’ve been loving making Katsu Curry lately, I’m not the best cook so when I get something right I overdo it a little

  • Reply Cassie January 12, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    I’ve been peeking into your kitchen for so long, I figured it was only polite to say “hi” I’ve just baked your fabulous ginger cookies, and have hidden them from my husband and child. Now I’ll have to make a Thai beef salad, won’t I? How do I hide that, I wonder?

  • Reply Nathan January 13, 2018 at 3:09 am

    Yesterday, it was forty-some-odd gray, windy degrees here on the East Coast. A perfect day for a Thai inspired beef salad, for eating or for reading about. xo

  • Reply Lauren Ashley January 14, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    5 stars
    This looks SO good. Thai flavors + grilled steak = absolute bliss!

  • Reply Nina January 15, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    As someone who is allergic to peanuts, it’s always good to find Thai recipes that don’t have peanuts. I suppose I always assume it all has peanuts.

  • Reply Ankit January 16, 2018 at 3:30 am

    5 stars
    I ate a restaurant in Virginia Beach once that made a Thai beef salad with beef hot off the grill and it was seriously one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. I am a total convert. This looks right up my alley!

  • Reply Jana January 16, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    As if I wasn’t already having trouble staying focused at work. Now I have a new obsession to tempt me from the path of self-discipline. Stopping by the market on my way home for the ingredients. My husband is going to be in heaven!

  • Reply Renata Green January 16, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    5 stars
    Although for me January is usually not depressing at all, I will try this salad next weekend since I love Thai beef salad and this one is a bit different from how I usually make it.
    January is a fresh start – it’s the month of celebration: my birthday is coming up, followed by the press ball…and this year it’s even more spectacular since I’ll spend February in Brazil; so now, nothing I could become melancholic about <3

  • Reply Serena January 16, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    4 stars
    Thai food. Yum. Can you make it more beautiful and appealing? So delicious. I may make this in a couple of weeks when I add meat back into my diet.

  • Reply Christopher Mitchell January 17, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    That looks phenomenally delicious! I don’t necessarily love dishes that have too much sauce, but it appears this dish lets the ingredients really speak for themselves. The photography is also very well done. Good stuff!

  • Reply Eliza January 18, 2018 at 7:12 am

    5 stars
    Wow! a colorful and savory beef salad, this dish is as warmth as your blog. Colorful and vibrant. Thanks for always sharing good times and good dish.

  • Reply Sabrina January 18, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Ooooh, this looks amazing! I always use bechamel in my lasagna because, as my grandma always used to say, ricotta doesn’t belong there. This recipe reminds me very much of one from Fine Cooking magazine about 5 years ago – I still have the magazine somewhere. They use homemade noodles and because of that, it’s definitely a labor of love, but yours looks so much easier while still having many of the same elements. Thanks! I’ll be giving this a try! 🙂

    P.S. I’m making your ginger/chocolate/apricot cookies RIGHT NOW for my husband – today’s his birthday. 🙂 Just put them in the oven and they’re starting to make the kitchen smell amazing. xo

  • Reply Lindsey January 22, 2018 at 4:45 am

    I love unplanned laxy days, nothing better than as you said lady, lounging around in Jammies and watching some movies and eating some tasty food, to take you away to a world far away.

  • Reply Laura Dove January 24, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Oh I just love a lazy day, although they are few and far between with four children. I’d love them even more if someone cooked me up something like this! I LOVE Thai food and beef is my absolute favourite! This looks mouth wateringly good!

  • Reply Jasmine Prado January 26, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    5 stars
    Thank you for writing so beautifully! I recently started reading your blog after seeing one of your business cards hanging on a friend’s refrigerator. Reading your commentary is like having a good meal: I’m always sorry when I’ve finished, and I always look forward to next time.

  • Reply David Elliott January 28, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    5 stars
    I do agree with Kit a lot. I think we try to force ourselves to do things when the days are short and then when we fail because of whatever mood hits us we quit. If we purpose to do it closer to the spring as things are getting alive we do much better. As for my month of January, it’s honestly been a bit crazy. I started this challenging month and have found it hard to keep up. I am ready for the month to be over even though I have appreciated the challenge. As for your recipe, it does look amazing. The thinly sliced beef and tomatoes look so amazing. I am going to have to try this out soon.

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