Sanne: This beef salad is one of my favorite Cambodian dishes and I love Linda’s version with banana flower. For this recipe, we are using grilled beef, but you can also make the salad with raw beef, which is then “cooked” in lime juice and prahok (Cambodian fermented fish paste).
The beef salad is best made with a good cut of high grade beef such as sirloin or tenderloin, but at casual restaurants in Cambodia. the salad is prepared with cheaper cuts of local beef. We were busy talking, so we forgot all about the beef, which is a little overcooked in the video, but normally, you would aim for the beef to be rare to medium rare.
The beef salad is typically served as part of a meal with soup and rice and maybe a curry, but you can also eat it on its own. This recipe makes a very large bowl of salad, which should be enough for 4 persons as a main course or 8 persons as a side dish.
Notes and recipe by Linda Meas
After removing the outer leaves, the banana flower will turn brown when in contact with the air, just like bananas do, but the process is faster for the flower, so make sure you wait to remove the outer leaves until just before you need to use the flower. Before cutting the flower, prepare a bowl with water and fresh lime juice, and soak the sliced banana flower in the water immediately after cutting, to prevent the flower from turning dark brown.
Remove the small “banana babies” in between the leaves of the flowers. The baby bananas are edible, but the innermost “sprout” has a very bitter taste, so you will need to remove that before eating.
Only use the lower part of the lemon grass and make sure to cut the lemon grass into very thin slices as it’s a bit chewy.
I usually make this salad with 1-2 green tomatoes, but since I was out of big tomatoes, when we were shooting the video, there are no tomatoes in this recipe. If you want to add tomatoes, remove the seeds before cutting the tomatoes.
The measurements are approximate. If the dressing is too salty, add more lime and sugar, and if the dressing is too sour or sweet, maybe it needs more fish sauce. Be careful with the fish sauce though. It is easier to start with a little and add more along the way, than having to fix a very salty dressing.