asian beef salad with caramelised peanut dressing

there's a fair few ingredients, i know, but bear with me and don't but don’t be put off - i promise it’s really not that time consuming!  this caramelised peanut dressing is an absolute dream; i usually use it on pork belly because the chilli and lime cut through the fat perfectly, but it works well here as a salad dressing and adds some salty, tangy goodness to this really fresh tasting salad.

asian beef salad with caramelised peanut dressing

for the dressing:

1 tbsp olive oil

4 shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 red chillies, finely chopped – seeds removed if you’re not a fan of the heat – i like to leave them in though

a bunch of coriander roots, washed and finely chopped

4 tbsp brown sugar

5 tbsp roasted raw peanuts

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp dark soy

1 tbsp light soy

juice of 1 lime

a small bunch of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

heat a frying pan over a medium hear and add the olive oil and shallots. cook for 3 minutes until beginning to soften

add the garlic, chilli & coriander roots and continue to fry for a further 1 minute

add the sugar and cook for 2 more minutes, until the sugar melts and starts to caramelise – stir the mixture to avoid the sugar catching!

now add the peanuts and cook for a further 3 – 5 minutes until everything is nicely caramelised and the peanuts are a pale golden colour. if the sugar begins to catch, ad a splash of cold water

remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the sesame oil, soy sauces and lime juice – taste to check if the mixture is balanced – you’re looking for something with a balance of sweet/sour/salt/spice

once you’ve balanced the dressing, blast it in a food processor for a few seconds, just until the peanuts start to break up to give a rough textured dressing, avoid taking it too far or the peanuts start to emulsify and turn the dressing an unappetising light brown colour

add the roughly chopped coriander once the dressing has cooled slightly so as not to discolour the leaves


for the salad:

2 pak choi, finely chopped

4 carrots, julienned

4 spring onions, finely sliced/shredded

zest of 1 lime

a squeeze of lime juice

1 red pepper, finely sliced to use as a garnish

a good handful of mint leaves, finely chopped

2 sirloin or rump steaks

olive oil

2 tbsp light soy sauce

a few torn coriander and mint leaves

chop all the ingredients for the salad accordingly, making sure that everything is shredded quite finely; imagine you’re to eat everything with chopsticks and chop into lengths accordingly. a mandoline makes life easier, but also more precarious – some good knife skills will do you just fine!

take the meat out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you intend to cook it

when ready to cook the steaks, heat up a pan until very hot – salt and pepper the steaks and then rub olive oil into the steaks – do not oil the pan

add the steaks to the pan when it is hot enough – you will know it’s ready as the meat will make a satisfying sizzling sound when it is added

fry for 1 minute each side for a rare to medium steak if you’re using sirloin – rump will take slightly longer on each side to achieve medium rare. 20 seconds before taking the steaks out of the pan, add the soy sauce – it will bubble profusely, but don’t be scared – and quickly spoon over the steaks

take out of the pan, cover with tin foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly and add to the caramelised peanut dressing, stirring to cover all of the meat.

arrange the salad ingredients onto 4 plates and then top with the beef; spoon over the excess dressing and then garnish with the sliced red pepper and the torn mint and coriander leaves