Last year I bought a couple of new “toys” for my kitchen, namely, a food processor and a slow cooker and they have been invaluable! I mentioned in my last blog that I have been throwing a number of dinner parties recently and half of the meals that I have been making really would not have been possible if I did not have these two appliances for a mid-week dinner party.
I use my slow cooked to make all manner of things, ranging from pulled pork, rice pudding, tagine, curry and stews. I suspect you are thinking that these are really winter dishes and to an extent you are right, but there really are some lovely summer dishes that you can make in your slow cooker, for example this Thai Beef Salad.
I use my food processor to make anything from, hummus, cakes, pastry, coleslaw, focaccia to mackerel pate. Yes I admit it is a pain to wash up but it saves me masses of time in terms of preparation. If you can afford to get one and have space in your kitchen to it is a worthwhile investment!
I am a huge fan of Vietnamese and Thai food and their fresh and fragrant flavours. This salad is a flavour explosion and has so many things going on at any one time ranging from sharp, spicy and sweet, to tangy, smoky and cool.
The key to this meal is in the preparation and forward planning, I cook the meat overnight, so that it may cool whilst I am at work during the day. The dressing can be made in advance as it will keep over several days and will just need to be shaken up just before serving. Then it is simply a case of preparing the salads, which if you can use a food processor really takes no time at all.
It may look like a lot of effort to make this salad, however, I cannot recommend it enough.
Thai beef salad (serves 8-10)
- 650 – 750g beef brisket (cut into 1” chunks and any sinew and fat removed)
- 500-750g thin fresh rice noodles
- 2″ ginger (peeled and grated)
- 1 chilli (finely sliced)
- 150ml light soy sauce
- 5tbsp honey
- 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1tbsp hot sauce (or sweet chilli sauce)
- 4 carrots (peeled and finely sliced)
- 8 large radishes (finely sliced)
- 1 cucumber (peeled, halved and de-seeded, then cut into slices)
- 2 large mangoes (peeled, de-stoned and cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 5/6 spring onions (roughly chopped)
- 1 large handful sugar snap peas (roughly chopped)
- 1 sweet red pepper (sliced)
- 1 handful mint (roughly chopped)
- 2 handfuls coriander (roughly chopped)
- 1 small bunch chives (roughly chopped)
- 2 limes (cut in wedges)
- 1 Romaine lettuce (roughly sliced)
- 2 bags mixed salad/stir fry leaves (ideally a combination spinach, kale and pak choi)
- 5/6 tbsp Hoisin sauce
- 2/3 tbsp peanut butter
- 3 limes (juice)
- 1″ ginger (peeled and grated)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1tbsp hot sauce (or sweet chilli if you prefer)
- 2/3 tbsp olive oil
- Chilli (finely sliced)
- Peanuts (roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar)
- Prawn crackers
Stage 1 – Slow cook beef
- Place the beef and all the ingredients for the marinade into a slow cooker.
- Put the slow cooker on a low setting and cook for around 6-10 hours stirring occasionally. You will know that the beef is ready when it is slightly caramelised and falls apart when you use two forks to shred it.
- When you are happy that the beef is cooked, remove from the slow cooker and place in a bowl, drizzle over some more honey and soy sauce (roughly 3tbsp of each) stir thoroughly and leave to cool completely.
Stage 2 – Salads
- Prepare the salads if you have a food processor use it to slice all of the vegetables finely.
- In a large bowl combine the, carrots, radishes, cucumber, sugar snap peas, mango, sweet red pepper, mint, chives and coriander. Garnish with the lime wedges.
- In another bowl mix together the green salad of the Romaine Lettuce and the mixed leaves.
Stage 3 – Dressing
- In a large jam jar shake together the dressing ingredients until they are completely combined.
- Add more soy sauce, Hoisin sauce or lime juice as required according to your own tastes.
Stage 4 – Noodles
- Just before you are ready to serve, shred the beef with two forks.
- Heat some oil in a large pan, then flash fry the noodles adding the beef to warm slightly in the last two minutes
Stage 5 – Serving
- To serve place some of the green salad on a plate.
- Add a spoonful or two of the mixed salad.
- Top with some of the beef noodles.
- Pour over a little dressing and add the chilli and peanuts according to your own tastes.
- Serve with some prawn crackers.