Best Steak Salad This Side of the Pacific Rim — With Lime and Lemongrass Dressing

| December 22, 2010 | 2 Comments

Steak salad. Sounds like a contradiction in terms.

But in northern Thailand, there’s a dish called waterfall beef. I have no idea why it’s called that. Maybe because in northern Thailand there are a lot of waterfalls. Flank steak is quickly seared so that it’s browned on the outside, juicy and still pink and moist in the center. Then it’s cut into thin strips on the bias and tossed in a fish sauce and lime dressing that blows your mind.

Marry that with our idea of salad and you’ve got a winner. Not to mention Oregon is dotted with waterfalls, so how apropos is that? Add thinly sliced shallots and thinly sliced lemongrass for additional flavor, and your mouth will be watering before the dish hits the table.

The secret ingredient to our version of steak salad is marinating the meat in some dried galangal root powder (available at any Asian grocery store) and a touch of oil an hour or two before cooking. The galangal will enhance the flavor of the steak and take away that “beefy smell” that turns some people off. Plus, while you’re searing the steak, it will add an other-worldy aroma to the beef.

Steak salad with lime, lemongrass dressing

Steak Salad with Lime and Lemongrass Dressing

Serves 2


  1. 1 pound (454 g.) top sirloin
  2. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) cooking oil
  3. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) dried galangal powder
  4. 2 stalks of lemongrass, very thinly sliced, about 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) total
  5. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) fish sauce
  6. Juice from 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons (30 ml.)
  7. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) sweet rice wine vinegar
  8. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) water
  9. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.)  Sriracha chili sauce (more if you like it spicy)
  10. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) sesame oil
  11. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) sugar
  12. Salad greens, washed and spun dry
  13. 1 shallot, thinly sliced


  • Marinate the steak with oil and galangal powder for an hour or two in the fridge.
  • Prepare the dressing by combining lemongrass, fish sauce, lime, sweet rice wine vinegar, sugar, water, Sriracha chili sauce and sesame oil. Mix thoroughly.
  • Over high heat in a cast-iron pan, sear steak about 3 minutes on each side and let rest for a minute before slicing thinly.
  • Arrange salad greens in serving plate. Arrange sliced steak over greens, sprinkle shallots on top and drizzle with dressing, making sure to spread the sliced lemongrass evenly over the salad.


— Vic

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Beef, Meat, Salad

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. biltong says:

    Great recipe family loved it we are all big steak fans and its nice to have a healthy option

  2. I never thought of using lemon grass with steak, It adds a completely different dimension to the taste.

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply