If you’ve been with me from the start, you’ve seen some of these recipes from my old blog, So Delushious. It was just a little WordPress page that I had from 2011-2013, a place to write about all my favorite foods/travels (sound familiar??). I’m not sure why I stopped, but I missed it so much that I wanted to make another one… and heeeere weeeee arrrrrre.

If you didn’t get a chance to check it out back in the day, I’ve been sharing some old posts from time to time and calling it “From The Vault!”

This week, I’m bringing back this Yum Nua salad (Yum=salad, Nua=beef) that will become your new go-to (you will honestly forget you’re eating a salad, that’s how good it is). Mom’s been making this for me since I was a kid and I swear, each time it tastes better than the last. This classic Thai dish is a perfect blend of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy, all due to the variety of flavorful ingredients used – I’m talking savory fish sauce, sweet palm sugar (NOT regular sugar, it makes a total difference!), spicy chili peppers, and juicy cuts of steak. Play around with the ingredients ratio depending on your taste preferences. For instance, add more palm sugar if you like your food on the sweeter side, use more fish sauce for that salty, briny taste, or mash chili peppers if you like heat. You really can’t go wrong here!


Original article published October 8, 2011.

The other week, my sister came over to deliver our wonderful demon Pippa back to us in Los Angeles (she lives in Vegas) because Pippa was too young to go to the doggy boarding place with her equally smelly brother while we are traveling. To thank her for watching Pipps for an entire month, we made plans to take her to a big fancy dinner…plans that were quickly squashed once my sister made the suggestion that we just stay in and cook a big Thai meal for Johnny and his trainer Malcolm. I jumped at this because, well, not only is my sister a great cook, but I really don’t ever make Thai food. In New York, Thai food delivery provides so much yumminess that it’s just not something I ever think about sitting down and doing.

So we did it. While the boys were out, we hit up the regular ol’ grocery store (LA traffic is a bitch and the 2/3 miles to Thai Town would have taken about an hour) and created a Thai feast just while walking up and down the aisles. On the menu: chicken satay with peanut sauce, spicy beef salad (yum nua), a garlicky ground pork stir fry with green chili (SO good mixed into jasmine rice) and lastly, chicken and broccoli stir fry with snap peas and curry sauce. While I want you guys to have the recipe to all of this, I think it’s best broken down, so here’s the yum nua recipe. My sister explains it best, so I had her email it. This is it in her own words: Yum = Salad, Nua = Beef.

This dish really epitomizes Thai cooking. Done properly, it embodies everything Thai food should be; balancing the principles of Thai cuisine. The key to Thai food in general is combing salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. You should not be able to identify whether this dish is more or less of one particular flavor, hence creating the perfect balance.

Ingredients:

  • A well-marbled 10-to-12 ounce NY Strip steak
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or light brown sugar), or more to taste
  • Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Thai chili powder (or finely ground red chili flakes; be prepared to sweat!)
  • 3-4 fresh red Thai chili peppers (or 1 long red jalapeño), thinly sliced
  • 4 shallots or 1 small red onion, sliced into skinny wedges
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced, or 1-2 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • Frilly lettuce (optional)

Directions:

  1. Season the steak generously with salt and pepper. Grill the steak to your liking (preferably on a charcoal grill; I prefer medium rare) and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Place the palm sugar in a large bowl and mix in some of the lime juice until it forms a thick liquid.
  3. Add the rest of the lime juice along with the fish sauce (start with 1 tablespoon and work your way up), chili powder, and peppers (again, start with a bit less and work your way up, tasting as you go).
  4. Slice the steak against the grain into thin strips and add to the bowl. Toss with your hands to make sure the steak is well coated. Add the shallots, cilantro, and tomatoes, toss and TASTE. Tasting as you go is the most important part. You are eating it, so add more fish sauce if it needs more salt, more sugar if it is too lime-y, etc. Every Thai mom has their variation, so make it how YOU like it. Isn’t that what cooking is all about? If you want to get fancy, mound into a shallow bowl or platter on a bed of frilly lettuce and garnish with lime wedges and more cilantro and a chili pepper flower.

…So there you have it. Easy enough, right? Of course I had my camera on hand for this wonderfulness. Don’t mind the other dishes, I will share those recipes later. 

I think this salad is best made with rare steak, but of course you can do it however you’d like if you wanna be a brat like that geez sorry what goshhh chill out. Anddddd as many of you all know, the addition of lime juice cooks up the meat all by itself. Apparently lime prefers its meat medium.

I LOVE onion. Can’t get enough of it in a salad. Boyfriend has to deal with onion breath. That’s the trade for having such a perfect girlfriend, sorry. Toss it around, put it on a pretty plate and voilà! You are done and you have a delicious meal to serve that people will definitely be asking about. You can tell them it’s your own secret recipe because you are 1/8th Thai, I don’t mind. See! I AMMM perfect.