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Spicy Thai Beef Salad for #SundaySupper

Spicy Thai Beef Salad | Magnolia Days

It’s interesting how a road can hold so many memories. A drive in a city nearby flooded my mind with thoughts of people, places, and events of long ago. Familiar places still existed and yet others were gone or replaced. Where I had my first job was unchanged. What was a bakery is now a check cashing store. I arrived at my destination to purchase rice and dried chili peppers in a store that stands on what used to be an open field where I played many times. It was difficult to concentrate on the task at hand with all the memories going through my head. I managed to finish shopping and was soon on my way home with the supplies to make Spicy Thai Beef Salad.

This salad is one I’ve enjoyed for years. It is the dish I will order in a Thai restaurant to compare it with the rest. I’ve seen it on menus as Nam Tok, Nam Tuk, Num Tok and Num Tuk. Perhaps one day I’ll learn why it is spelled so many similar yet different ways. It’s a simple salad of thinly sliced cooked steak with onion and a light dressing of lime juice and fish sauce. Mint leaves add coolness and chili peppers bring on the heat. There is one special ingredient that cannot be left out. Toasted rice powder gives it a subtle nutty flavor and gives body to the dressing.

Spicy Thai Beef Salad | Magnolia Days

Spicy Thai Beef Salad can be mild to uber hot. It all depends on how much of the minced dried chili peppers you use. I do not use the seeds as they can put it into a 911 heat category. You can use any cooked steak for this salad, however I prefer filet mignon. Leftover cold steak works wonderfully so throw on extra next time you fire up the grill. Serve the salad with a wedge of cabbage. Place some of the salad on a cabbage leaf and roll it up to eat as you would a lettuce wrap. The cabbage also has a cooling effect which balances the heat of the peppers.

A note about the toasted rice powder. Go to an Asian market and look for sweet or glutinous rice. It is a type of rice that is very sticky when cooked. It is soaked and then steamed. You can roll it up into a ball and use it like a bread for dipping into sauces. Since you only need a small amount to make the rice powder you might as well cook some and enjoy it as an alternative to regular rice. I sometimes have it with Spicy Thai Beef Salad along with cabbage.

Do you like spicy food? Or spiced food? I certainly do. Spicy grilled corn salad and cheddar jalapeno sourdough bread are a couple of things I’m made lately with a kick of heat. Also check out  recipes by Sunday Supper bloggers for the “Spice It Up!” event hosted by Amy of Kimchi MOM. Scroll down to see the list and join me in visiting each one.

Spicy Thai Beef Salad

A recipe for Spicy Thai Beef Salad also known as Nam Tok. Cooked steak is tossed with onion, lime juice, fish sauce, dried chili pepper and toasted rice powder.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Author Renee


For the toasted rice powder:

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons uncooked sweet/glutinous rice

For the salad:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 dried chili peppers seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted rice powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound cooked steak thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 wedges of cabbage


For the toasted rice powder:

  1. Heat the uncooked rice in a small skillet over medium to medium-low heat until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionaly for even browning.
  2. Grind the toasted rice into a powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

For the salad:

  1. Whisk together the fish sauce and lime juice in a medium bowl. Add the minced chili peppers, rice powder, and mint. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the onion and steak. Toss to coat.
  3. Transfer salad to a plate and serve with a wedge of cabbage.

Recipe Notes

A recipe for Spicy Thai Beef Salad also known as Nam Tok. Cooked steak is tossed with onion, lime juice, fish sauce, dried chili pepper and toasted rice powder.

Recipe adapted from one by Natty Netsuwon; Nam Tok on the Thai Table website.

How about some more spicy recipes? Sunday Supper bloggers are sharing a great selection for you:

Snappy Starters & Snacks

Hatch Chile, Grape & Grilled Onion Salsa from Shockingly Delicious
Spicy Tempeh Chips from The Urban Mrs
Sriracha Popcorn from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Cheese, Smoked Paprika and Fennel Crackers from What Smells So Good?
Baked Banana Pepper Poppers from Daily Dish Recipes
Spicy Black Bean and Corn Stew from Mama’s Blissful Bites
Caldo de Camaron y Pescado (Shrimp & Fish Soup) from girlichef
Bajia with Tomato and Chili Chutney from My cute bride
Buffalo Chicken {shredded} Salad from Casa de Crews
Sriracha and Parmesan Fries from Mess Makes Food
Smoky Salmon Chowder from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Hummus and Spicy Turkish Ezme Salad from Neighborfood
Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppedew Peppers from Healthy. Delicious.
Tofu Hariyali Kebabs-(Tofu Kebabs in Cilantro Sauce) from Soni’s Food

Fiery Main Dishes

Spicy Stuffed Mexican Peppers from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Jalapeno Popper Fettuccine Alfredo from Chocolate Moosey
Poached Tilapia en Escabeche from La Cocina de Leslie
Spicy Grilled Chicken Wings with a Chipotle Honey Dipping Sauce from Runner’s Tales
Chorizo and Scallop Skewers from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Cookin’ Mimi
Thai Cashew Chicken from Doggie at the Dinner Table
Skillet Jambalaya from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Firecracker Chicken from Juanita’s Cocina
Cumin, Coriander and Fennel Turkey Pitas from Cook the Story
Aubergine and Chickpea Curry from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
Savory Tomato & Poblano Pie from An Appealing Plan
Venison Mole Rojo from Curious Cuisiniere
Za’atar Chicken with Fattoush from Food Lust People Love
Crispy Oven Fried Buffalo Chicken Tenders from In The Kitchen With KP
Skinny Buffalo Chicken Strips from Webicurean
BBQ Chicken Pizza with Poblano Peppers and Pepitas from The Wimpy Vegetarian
Spicy Thai Beef Salad from Magnolia Days
Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Spicy Lemon Paprika Chicken Thighs from Family Foodie

Searing Sauces & Seasonings

Homemade Buffalo Sauce from Growing Up Gabel
Whole grain Mustard recipe – Moutarde à l’ancienne from Masala Herb
Homemade Sriracha Sauce from kimchi MOM

Zesty Sweets & Sips

Cinnamon Streusel Scones from Killer Bunnies, Inc
Fiery Pomelo from My Other City By The Bay
Cinnamon Monkey Bread from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Cinnamon Peanut Butter Skillet Blondies with Ice Cream from Vintage Kitchen Notes
Goldilocks and the 3 Asian-Fusion Bars from

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement

Recipe Rating


Friday 4th of July 2014

Just saw this recipe on your side bar Renee and knew that I had to read it since I love Thai food so much! Pinned and saved! YUM!!!!!


Saturday 5th of July 2014

Thanks Roz and I hope you enjoy it very much.

Courtney @ Neighborfood

Wednesday 14th of August 2013

I love Thai food, but somehow have never had this before! It sounds great!

Laura | Small Wallet, Big Appetite

Wednesday 14th of August 2013

I know what you mean. I was watching a show last night and in the show the family stopped at what was meant to be a generic scenic spot in California. But it just happened to be my old peaceful place I use to go when I needed to think. Talk about memories, I actually got teary-eyed and the funny part is the scene in the show was meant to be funny.


Wednesday 14th of August 2013

I've had that happen too. What is supposed to be funny relates to a not-so-funny incident or place. It's interesting as to how that can be a street, scenic spot, or building.

Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom)

Monday 12th of August 2013

The toasted rice powder is intriguing! Love this salad and the cool wedge of cabbage.

The various spellings is just the variations of the Anglicized versions of the Thai (and any other non-English) words. I'm sure the tones and phonetics of the Thai language is difficult to represent accurately with English hence the variations in spelling.

For example for the word "kimchi", you'll see kimchi, kimchee, gimchi, ghimchee, etc. These all come close to the Korean pronuncation. Ghimchee (pronounced GHIM-chee) probably comes closest to the actual pronunciation.


Wednesday 14th of August 2013

Thanks Amy and I never realized there were different spellings for kimchi or the way it is pronounced in Korean. Interesting.


Monday 12th of August 2013

Love Thai flavors anyday and can see myself enjoying this dish!!Didn't know about the toasted rice flour and it does seem like a nice addition and texture in the salad!Lovely recipe Renee :)


Monday 12th of August 2013

Thanks Soni!