I’ve professed my love for Thai food before so I’ll spare you the rant here. I will, however, take this occasion to let you know just how much I love a good Thai-style Green Mango Salad. It’s sweet, sour, crunchy, salty, and super refreshing! When paired with some equally flavourful grilled beef, you’ve got a match made in heaven!
You may already know that Catalina and I spent about three weeks travelling through Thailand a few years back and I kid you not when I say that every single day was a culinary awakening. The sights, smells, and tastes never ceased to amaze. If you have the opportunity to visit Thailand, take it! Don’t even think twice – just go! And once you get there, EAT! All day, every day! Anyone that’s been to Thailand can surely back me up on this!
For those that can’t make the trip, the good news is that there are some pretty spectacular Thai restaurants popping up around Toronto (and probably your city as well). My favourite in Toronto is Sukhothai. Owned by a husband-and-wife team, it has grown into a veritable powerhouse and has come to dominate the Thai food scene with several locations and a few other spin-off restaurants, such as Pai and Kiin. Come to think of it, I’ve never ordered the Mango Salad at any of their restaurants. All the more reason to make a return trip, I suppose!
The one thing that surprised me the most from taking a cooking class in Thailand was the amount of sugar used in each recipe. Refined white sugar and/or palm sugar was being thrown around like crazy! Everything from my favourite Massaman Curry to the ultra ubiquitous Pad Thais were laced with sweeteners. The Green Mango Salad and Green Papaya Salad we often ordered in restaurants were also sweetened. I imagine many Thai restaurants are following the same practice here in Toronto and elsewhere.
Sure, sugar makes things delicious. Don’t think anyone can argue against that. However, I’ve come to realize that just about everywhere sugar is used in Thai cooking, you can replace it with honey. Exhibit A: Basil’s Thai Green Coconut Curry, a recipe I nicked from Basil’s Thai cooking class. Since then, I’ve been using honey instead of sugar and with some pretty spectacular results.
For this Thai Grilled Beef with Green Mango Salad, you can certainly add a little bit of honey to the steak marinade and salad vinaigrette, if so desired. Or, if you are on a round of Whole30, you can omit it altogether for a compliant version. What most people don’t realize is that coconut aminos are slightly sweet in flavour and as the predominant ingredient in this dish, you probably won’t disappoint your sweet tooth all that much. I’ll let you decide which route you’d like to take. You’re the boss, applesauce.
A note on the Grilled Beef:
I normally tend to cook steak without marinading it. Reason being, if I’m buying steak, chances are I’m spending my paycheque on an expensive cut of grass-fed cattle and I have no intention of paying top dollar for something I’m just going to mask in a marinade.
For this reason, I recommend seeking out the less coveted cuts of meat for this recipe.
Look for cuts like London Broil, Flank, Skirt or Eye of Round, which are slightly tougher, cheaper and will take well to marinades.
The secret to making these cuts delicious, is very simple: DON’T OVERCOOK THEM. Unless of course you like eating shoe leather, in which case please feel free to cook your steak to a lovingly well-done crisp.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that I committed the egregious sin of overcooking the steak in the photo. I did so in the sake of perfect grill marks because food photography is equal parts reality and smoke and mirrors.
The good news is that despite my culinary shortcomings, the steak came out super flavourful and Catalina and I ate every last bite with a smile on our faces. I was happy because the food tasted delicious. She was happy because I didn’t make a big mess in the kitchen. Win, win!
As always, if you cook this recipe and share it on social media, be sure to tag @primal_gourmet so I can follow along!