Chilli Beef with Lime and Palm Sugar Dressing

3:10 pm on 17 December 2010

Serves 6
Time to prep 35 minutes
Time to cook 25 minutes


  • 800g piece fillet steak, taken from the fat end of the fillet, at room temperature
  • 1½ Tbsp oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 3 tablespoons light vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated or crushed palm or raw sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
  • Juice squeezed from 2 tablespoons coarsely grated ginger
  • 1 fresh hot red chilli, halved deseeded and very finely chopped
  • 2 fresh limes


  • 70g snow peas or sugar snaps (less than 1 cup)
  • ½ an iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups very fresh bean sprouts, trimmed, optional
  • 1 telegraph cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • ¼ cup Thai basil, optional


1 Trim away fat and silverskin from beef, then tie with string so that it holds its shape during cooking. Heat oil in a heavy-based casserole over medium-high heat, and when oil is nice and hot add beef and brown well on both sides. Sprinkle generously with salt and grind over plenty of black pepper. Transfer casserole to an oven preheated to 200°C (fanbake) and roast for 15 minutes, turning once. Remove meat from oven, cool, then cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or more). Slice beef thinly, stack the slices in a container and cover with plastic food wrap and refrigerate; the beef will regain red colour when it is taken from the refrigerator and separated into slices.

2 To make the dressing, mix the vegetable oil in a bowl with the lime juice, fish sauce, salt, sugar, garlic, ginger juice and chilli. Peel the limes with a serrated knife, then slice in between each piece of membrane and release the lime fillets. Cut them into small pieces and add to the dressing along with any juice; squeeze the juice from the membrane into the bowl as well.

3 To prepare the vegetables, first blanch snow peas by dropping them into a saucepan of gently boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool and pat dry. If cooking sugar snaps, leave them in the water for 2 minutes. Put the lettuce, snow peas or sugar snaps, bean sprouts (if using) and cucumber in a large bowl and scatter over most of the herbs. Mix the dressing ingredients together and spoon some over the salad. Toss well and divide amongst 6 bowls. Arrange the beef on top of the salads, scatter with the rest of the herbs and spoon the rest of the dressing over. Toss each salad lightly and serve immediately.

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

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