Waterfall Grilled Steak Salad (Nua Nam Tok)


I had the best day hanging out with my neighbors yesterday and eating a steak that was way to large for me, especially gorging myself on Italian sausages and cheese appetizers. There is absolutely nothing in comparison to #SummertimeChi... all 60 days of it that we actually get. 

This dish is my dad's favorite and one of the first dishes i actually learned to make. The ingredients are accessible and a huge crowd pleaser. Not to mention, this dish is also gluten free. Serve with some sticky rice and you'll be in summertime heaven. The hit of smoky toasted rice in the Nam Jaew gives this salad a full bodied flavor. Omit the toasted rice and you'll have Yum Nua, also incredibly delicious but a little lighter in flavor. 


Ribeye was on special so that thats what i used yesterday. Usually, I buy whatever is on sale. I have used everything from top Sirloin, skirt, to flank. Just be sure to season generously with sea salt, grill, and slice thinly after. 

For this recipe, I chose a 1lb boneless rib eye. Grilling took five minutes on high on each side to bring the steak to a nice medium level of cookness with beautiful grill marks. The key is to let the meat rest after the grill, covered in foil before slicing into it. This is crucial, I cannot stress it enough.

Waterfall Grilled Beef Salad

Serves 2-4

printable version

  • 1lb Beef (Ribeye, flank, or skirt)
  • 2 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 2 sprigs of cilantro to garnish

To make the Nam Jaew Vinagrette, standalone recipe here

  • ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • ⅓ cup fish sauce
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar or palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoons of uncooked jasmine rice for khao khua*
  • ¼-1 tsp of dried Thai red pepper flakes (coarsely ground), more or less depending on your spicy preference and brand of chili flakes. 


1. Season ribeye generously with sea salt. Grill until medium, about 4-6 minutes on each side. Let steak rest for ten minutes underneath foil. Slice into thin strips against the grain of the meat. 

To prepare the sauce:

2. Toast a tablespoon of uncooked rice until golden brown. This should take a few minutes on medium high heat. No oil is needed. Keep your eye on this and stir the pan frequently. The rice will go from slightly translucent white to very opaque white and eventually golden brown.  Crush in the mortar with a pestle until it becomes a course powder. 

2. Mix all of the ingredients (shallots, cilantro, fish sauce, lime, sugar, khao khua, and desired amount of dried chilli) into a small bowl and adjust to taste. I like mine more sour and spicy. the flavors should come out salty/sour with a base of sweetness and smoke. Add more ground chillis if you prefer spicier. 

To Serve

4. Drizzle vinaigrette over steak strips.

5. Garnish generously with thinly sliced green onions and cilantro. Add fresnos or thai red chillis if desired. 

Salad can be served over a bed of greens. I personally like the radish shoots or radicchio because it has a little bit of bitterness to counter the richness of the beef.  Mixed lettuce, butter, lettuce and Boston red work beautifully. Can also be served with steamed jasmine rice or sticky rice.