Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Asian Steak Salad with Cucumber and Napa Cabbage

The other day on the Martha Stewart Show, Martha took an audience member who was a self-confessed novice in the kitchen and sent her out the back to learn how to make at least one healthy supper dish. The first time I watched this episode I have to say I wasn't really interested, but then I watched it again last weekend I had a change of heart (I had a headache on the Saturday and had food shows on in the background. As I said previously, I obviously am very suggestible in my headachy state, as this is the third recipe I made that Sunday from a show I saw on the Saturday).

It sounded so fresh and tasty - steak marinated in lime, rice vinegar and sesame oil, grilled gently and then served on a salad of fresh Chinese cabbage and cucumber with more lime, rice vinegar and sesame oil. It wasn't too bad. It was easy to pull together. Using the grill to cook the steak was something new. I don't use the grill in our oven very often and I came very close to overcooking the steak, but I liked the theory and I will try it again.

Taste wise, I thought that the lime/rice vinegar/sesame oil dressing was a little too astringent for the salad. I've got leftovers, I'm going to try adding some soy sauce to it to add another element and try and cut through that sourness. I loved the contrasting textures between the Chinese cabbage, cucumber and the meat and also the addition of crunchy peanuts on top. I love Chinese cabbage at the worst of times so this wasn't a hard sell for me, but it really was very good.

Something that made me smile was the direction that the English cucumber should be halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on the diagonal. I love Scottish chef Nick Nairn and I was watching one of his shows recently and he was cutting carrots for a stew and instructed the viewer to cut them on the diagonal. He said "[it's] two things chefs love: high food and diagonals". It made me laugh.

Asian Steak Salad with Cucumber and Napa Cabbage

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, crushed
500g heart-smart steak (the recipe recommends flank steak, but I really don't know what that is)
1/4 cup soy sauce
Non-stick cooking spray
1/2 head Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced crosswise
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/4 cup coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts

Heat the grill, with rack set 4 inches from the heat. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, oils, red-pepper flakes and garlic.

Pierce the steak all over with a fork, place in a shallow dish and pour over soy sauce and halve of the lime juice mixture. Reserve the remaining half of the lime juice mixture for the dressing. Marinate the steak at room temperature for 10 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Life steak from marinade and place on baking sheet. Grill, without turning, until medium-rare, 8 to 10 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Slice thinly on the diagonal, across the grain.

In a large bowl, toss cabbage and cucumber with reserved dressing, divide among four plates. Top salad with steak and peanuts.


  1. Mmmmm yum, sounds so refreshing!

    The lime, rice wine vinegar and peanuts reminds me of this fantastic Thai dish from a restaurant on Park Rd..
    Must try this :p

  2. It was really refreshing, I just found it a little unbalanced. I'm sure with a little bit of playing around I know I can get it to be awesome.

    Which restaurant?? I love Thai food!