thai ssteak salad

Two summers ago, I relocated to Santa Monica for a restaurant management gig at Houston’s. That gig didn’t last very long due to some bad judgment on my part, but it was great while it lasted. The food was just absolutely amazing. I mean, in honesty, it wasn’t anything superior. There’s no creative thinking behind the dishes, but the goal of the restuarant is to churn out consistent, quality meals. They’re usually on the mark too. There were regulars who’d consistently pay $50 every other day for LUNCH! (THAT’S INSANE!)

Their Thai Beef Noodle Salad was just out of this world amazing. It was like having a party inside my mouth. Sweet, savory, and sour flavors all dancing together. I ordered it at least 3 times a week (we were given a free meal a day) and each time, it always tasted the same. Then, I realized why. The restaurant is extremely methodical as to how they prep meals. 7 carrot sticks on this salad, 5 mango pieces on that salad, a precise cup of shredded lettuce. Heck, the whole place is OCD! I remember questioning the kitchen manager on why he chose to work at a restaurant that limited his creativity and he said that it was because Houston’s taught him how to run a business.

Sigh, once upon a time I lived only a 10 minute bike ride away…

Suki came over last night and I made this salad for her. Unfortunately, I hadn’t yet made my way to the salad station so I can only guess what went into the dressing. I Googled for the recipe and found one, but I think it’s a bit inaccurate.  Anyhow, the recipe came super-close, although I ended up modifying it a bit (I included both recipes for the dressing). I think it’s safe to say it was a hit. Suki REALLY liked it.

thai steak salad!!

There are two ingredients that make this dish and it’s cilantro (coriander) and mango! Cilantro is a hate it or love it herb. I know alot of people who dislike it. It’s a bit difficult to describe, but for me, it’s sort of like a spicy mint.  I actually put alot more of the cilantro in than the recipe asked for. The mango balances out the cilantro and man, it’s just a cosmic explosion of flavors along with the noodles and steak.


Thinking about it, if I could, I’d add some pineapples too!

seared steak

And the steak! Use flank steak so it’s easy to slice!

Noodles! Oodles and oodles of noodles!

This is one of those salads that hold up amazingly well overnight. We couldn’t finish the giant bowl so a good quarter of it sat in my fridge. This morning, I had the rest of it, and it tasted even better! I think it was because everything marinated overnight. Sure, the greens were a bit limp, but eh, whatever. It’s the flavor that counts! As long as the noodles are still al-dente, that’s all that matters to me!

oodles of noodles
Houston’s Thai Steak Salad
From Tastebook

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons Sriracha or similar chile paste
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon neutral flavored oil (ie canola or grapeseed)

Jessie’s Modified Dressing

  • 3 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1½ teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1/8 cup peanut butter
  • Pinch of salt

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound skirt or flank steak
  • 1 ounce of noodles, cooked al dente (I like using udon-like noodles)
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 large handful shredded cabbage
  • 1 large handful of cilantro (aka coriander)
  • 1 small julienned carrot
  • 1/3 cup diced mango
  • A handful of crushed peanuts


Mix all of the dressing ingredients together. Set aside while you are preparing the salad.

Season the beef with salt and pepper and sear in a hot skillet (preferably cast iron) for 2-3 minutes per side, or until medium rare. What I like to do is sear the whole entire thing on both sides and then transfer it onto a cutting board. Let it sit for a bit before slicing it into strips. At this point, the meat will still be too rare for consumption so return it back to the skillet for some more searing.

still rare!

Let the meat rest for a few minutes, then slice on the bias and toss with 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing.

Meanwhile, prepare the noodles. I use shanghai long noodles which look like udon noodles. They only take about 3-4 minutes to cook. The key is to not overcook them or else the texture will just get really mushy and clash with the rest of the salad. After, rinse the noodles in cold water. Mix the remaining salad ingredients (except the peanuts) in a large bowl, add dressing, and toss in the steak. Mix until everything is well coated. Serve on a plate and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts.

more thai steak