Looking for healthy lunch ideas? Try this Thai beef salad with basil, coriander and mint.

Ingredients (serves 4)

Oil (for frying)

500g beef sirloin or rump

For the dressing

2 garlic cloves

1cm piece of fresh root ginger

1 lemongrass stalk

1 red chilli

4 tbsp lime juice

3 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp caster sugar

For the salad

3 shallots

1 large handful of Thai basil

1 large handful of coriander

1 large handful of mint leaves

To serve

5 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts

3 tbsp fried shallots

To make the dressing, peel and crush the garlic and peel and finely grate the ginger, reserving any juice. Remove the outer leaf of the lemongrass stalk and trim away the root end and the coarser green end, leaving the paler middle section. Very finely chop this. Halve, deseed and finely dice the chilli.

Put the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar in a large bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the garlic, ginger (with any reserved juices), lemongrass and chilli and stir again. The dressing should have a balanced flavour of sour, hot, sweet and salty.

For the salad, halve, peel and very thinly slice the shallots. Pick the herb leaves from their stalks and leave whole unless very large, in which case very coarsely chop them. Heat enough oil to just cover the base of a heavy-based frying pan, add the steak and cook for one to two minutes each side, or to your liking. Remove and set aside to rest for three to five minutes.

Add the raw shallots and herbs to the dressing. Finely slice the steak across the grain and add it to the salad. Turn everything through the dressing to ensure the salad and steak are evenly coated. Place on a serving dish and scatter with the peanuts and fried shallots.

Roasted unsalted peanuts: Place the peanuts on a lipped baking tray and roast in a hot oven, 190°C for 8–10 minutes until evenly golden. Remove from the oven and tip into a bowl to cool.
Fried shallots: Halve, peel and very finely slice four to six shallots. Heat 0.5 to one cm of oil in a frying pan or wok over a medium heat and shallow fry the shallots until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots from the oil to kitchen paper and leave to cool. As they cool, they will crisp.

Nutritional information per serve: kJ 1267.5| Fat 16.5g | Carb 7.1g | Protein 30.5g

Images and recipes extracted from Leiths How To Cook, published by Quadrille, distributed by Hardie Grant Books. RRP $59.95. Available now in stores nationally.

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