Laotian Beef Salad with Mint and Cilantro

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I first ate this salad in Laos, South-East Asia. It is called lap neua, and features beef. In Laos, they traditionally include a few pieces of chopped tripe to the salad. But “beef only” is delicious, unless you really love tripe :) (this is one of the very few foods that I don’t like).

It is a very refreshing salad for summer, and includes plenty of fresh herbs, including cilantro. Cilantro has the property of binding with aluminum in the body, and it is my favorite detox food!

There are 2 versions of the salad. Traditionally, the beef is raw; it’s very healthy because enzymes are kept intact; the meat marinates in lime juice, which means you won’t really feel like it’s raw, and actually it’s pretty much like ceviche with fish or salmon tartare.

This is the raw version:


And here is the recipe of the raw beef version:

Serves 3 – Prep. time 30 min
3 shallots
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 slices galanga or ginger, chopped
1/4 bunch chives
10 mint leaves
1 tbsp fish sauce (nuoc mam)
2 limes
1/4 bunch cilantro
2 spring onions
10.6 oz (300g) beef (a tender cut), cut into stripes
4 tsp grilled powdered rice (optional)
1 fresh red chili pepper (optional)
sea salt and pepper

Slice 2 shallots and garlic. Chop chives.
Slice the chili pepper, if using.

Cook shallots, garlic and chili in a small pan until brown.Then, place in a mortar and grind to a paste. You can also use a small mixer to do this.

In a bowl, place the beef, the shallot-garlic-chili paste, the remaining shallot, sliced, the ginger or galanga, the lime juice, and the fish sauce. Mix well. You can add some sea salt and pepper, to taste.

Cover and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

Wash and chop mint, cilantro, spring onions and chives.

About 10 minutes before serving, add chives, onions, mint and cilantro to the beef and mix well. You can now add the powdered rice if using, and mix well.

Chill until you serve.

Then, there is another version in which you cook the beef. Here is what it looks like:


And here is the recipe of the cooked version:

Serves 3 – Prep. time 20 min
2 small shallots
1/4 bunch chives
1/4 bunch mint
1 tbsp fish sauce (nuoc mam)
2 limes
1/2 bunch cilantro
10.6 oz (300g) beef (a tender cut), cut into stripes
1 tsp raw cane sugar
4 tsp grilled powdered rice (optional)
1 fresh red chili pepper (optional)

Slice shallots and chop chives.

Wash mint and cilantro leaves and chop them.

Slice the chili pepper, if using.

Sear the beef in a pan on high heat. It should be rare.

Place the beef in a salad bowl, and add the herbs.

Season with fish sauce, lime juice, and cane sugar. Mix well.

Add the powdered rice and the chili pepper, if using.

Mix well, and serve.


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