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08 Jun 2023

John Chantarasak’s neua yang nahm tok (grilled beef rib-eye with ‘waterfall’ salad)

John Chantarasak’s neua yang nahm tok (grilled beef rib-eye with ‘waterfall’ salad)

Nahm tok is an Isaan dish that has all the typical flavour characteristics of the region – spicy, herbal, sour and salty. The name nahm tok literally translates as ‘waterfall’ and gets its whimsical name from the grilling meat juices dripping and falling on to the hot coals as the steak cooks. This process creates smoke and imparts a wonderful flavour. This recipe works best with dry-aged cuts with a good fat marbling, such as rib-eye and sirloin.

Serves: 2 
Takes 1.5 hrs

2 tbsp fish sauce 
1 tbsp seasoning sauce  
½ tsp caster sugar 
½ tsp ground white pepper 
450g rib-eye steak, preferably on the bone and dry-aged for at least 21 days 
3 tbsp coriander leaves 
2 tbsp mint leaves 
1 spring onion, thinly sliced 
½ small red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise 
2 lemongrass stalks, root and outer husks removed, thinly sliced 
2 makrut lime leaves (fresh or frozen), thinly shredded 
2 dried bird’s-eye chillies, toasted (optional) 
1 tbsp toasted rice powder, to serve 

For the dressing (nahm yum) 
4 tbsp lime juice 
2½ tbsp fish sauce 
1½ tbsp caster sugar 
1 tsp toasted chilli powder


  1. For the dressing, mix together the ingredients in a small bowl. This should taste aggressively sour, spicy and salty. Set aside at room temperature. 
  2. Mix together the fish sauce, seasoning sauce, sugar and white pepper in another small bowl. Rub this all over the steak and leave to marinate for 1 hr in the fridge. Prepare a charcoal grill, then cook the steak over a medium heat, turning once or twice, to give nice caramelisation and colour. I recommend cooking rib-eye to medium, but cook to your preference. Leave the steak to rest for at least 5 mins, before slicing against the grain of the meat. 
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the coriander, mint, spring onion, red onion, lemongrass, makrut lime leaves and toasted dried chillies until combined. Add enough of the dressing to nicely coat the herbs and aromatics without drowning the leaves, then toss everything together gently to coat. 
  4. Arrange the sliced steak on a serving plate and pour over a little of the dressing to season. Top with the herbal salad and finish with a generous sprinkle of the toasted rice powder. 

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