Grilled Lemongrass Beef Salad
Since turning to Paleo for weight management, I have lost a total of 10 pounds in 6 weeks. 10 pounds is not a ridiculous amount of weight, I know, but it is reasonable for me and at par with my goals. Most importantly, I didn’t feel the least bit deprived at all with this regime (well, OK, maybe I suffered a little in the desserts department). In fact, the hardest part was the first 3 days when I cut out the ‘bad’ carbs like pasta, bread, and rice. This is when you realize how addicted your body is to these foods! It’s like quitting smoking cold turkey – first, you got to get over the proverbial hump!
Now that I have smoothly sailed through the 30-day clean Paleo (meaning, no carbs, no refined sugar, no processed foods, no dairy at all for 30 days), I have turned a corner with my health and weight loss…I feel great! I’ve done an extra 15 days of clean Paleo, but I think I am ready to switch to an 80/20 Paleo (80% of the week Paleo and 20% cheat) or Primal Paleo (a Paleo that allows some dairy). This diet has given me a ton of energy while losing weight at the same time! To me, it’s a keeper!
So, here’s another SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet)- and Paleo-friendly recipe, although there is a little bit of “cheat” in it because I don’t think fish sauce is allowed in Paleo. The good thing is, the ingredients in this recipe are easily replaced or ommitted as needed.
I am Asian and I grew up in an Asian kitchen with an Asian pantry and eating Asian food every day. For someone like me, rice is essential – it’s a cheap filler to the more expensive proteins. Did I mention we Asians are usually cheap, too? LOL.
But since looking to Paleo for diet solutions, I have learned to let go of my rice-eating habits and invest more in the right kind of proteins (antibiotic-free poultry and pork, grass-fed beef, sustainable seafood, etc.). Sure, I think about rice sometimes, especially when I know certain kinds of Asian dishes go so well with a bowl of it! But honestly, this Grilled Lemongrass Beef Salad is already a pretty hearty dish with many delicious layers of flavours! This dish is usually found in Thai or Vietnamese cuisines as a starter, but with the right portion, it can be made into a fulfilling meal itself. I recommend using grass-fed beef if you have access to it, since it tastes better and is healthier anyway. Don’t you worry, the complex flavours of this dish won’t make you think of rice at all!
- ~~ For the Grilled Beef Salad ~~
- 1 to 1-1/2 pounds rib-eye or sirloin steak, preferably grass-fed
- 1 stalk lemongrass, outer ribs removed and roughly chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 3 shallots, roughly chopped
- ½-inch piece ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos or organic soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon raw honey or grated palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 bunch frisée lettuce, ends removed
- 1 star fruit, thinly sliced into ¼"
- a handful of kumquats, thinly sliced
- a handful of ngo gai (also known as Mexican coriander or sawtooth coriander)
- a few leaves of Thai purple basil
- pink peppercorns, crushed
- white sesame seeds
- ~~ For the dressing ~~
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 to 4 tablespoons water
- Wrap the whole piece of steak in plastic and freeze 25 to 30 minutes, or until semi-frozen.
- Put the lemongrass, garlic, shallots, and ginger in a mortar (or food processor) and pound/grind with a pestle until mashed.
- Add the coconut aminos and raw honey to the spice paste and grind until a smooth paste forms.
- Remove and unwrap the partially frozen steak from the freezer. Slice the beef across the grain into ⅛-inch strips and set aside.
- In a large bowl or in a freezer bag, rub the ground spice paste in to the beef and marinate for 1 hour up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by whisking the fish sauce, raw honey, and lime juice with 3 tablespoons of water, adding more to taste if needed. Set aside.
- Heat the coconut oil in a cast-iron grill pan over high heat, or fire up the bbq grill. When the pan is hot, add the marinated beef and cook for a few seconds before turning the heat down to medium-high. Cook for 5 minutes until browned and tender, turning occasionally. Do not overcrowd the pan or grill. Repeat this cooking step until all the beef is cooked.
- If using the grill, have two well-oiled zones in the bbq ready: one side on high heat (400 F to 425 F) and the other side on lower heat (300 F to 325 F). Cook the beef on the side that's on high heat for a few seconds to sear, then flip the steak strips and transfer to the lower heat side and cook until browned and tender, about 3 to 4 minutes, or depending on your grill.
- In a serving bowl or plate, toss the frisée lettuce, star fruit, kumquats, ngo gai (Mexican coriander), Thai basil, and beef with the prepared dressing.
- Season with pink peppercorns and garnish with sesame seeds.