spicy salad

Steak, mango and avocado salad

This recipe first appeared in The Guardian newspaper in February 2010 and it's from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

One of my sisters saw it and tore it out - we made it and it was delicious.

Several years later when I was with her, I remembered it, and took a photo of the page - and a few times I've made it, zooming in on the photo to enlarge it enough to see the detail of the recipe.

Seven years later, thought it was about time I just shared it, so I'll have it right here whenever I need it.

Oh! And - of course - so that you can have it too.

This is simple and elegant and delicious and full of flavour. Easy enough for a normal supper, and lovely enough for a dinner party, or lunch - we had it today for Sunday lunch and it was perfect.

I've changed the recipe just a little, so this is my version I'm giving you.

The mango, avocado, steak and spicy dressing isn't a combination I'd have thought of - but it works supremely well.

So for two people, this is how you do it!

Rachel Redlaw steak avocado mango salad

The marinade: 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely minced; 1 tablespoon oyster sauce; 1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional - I didn't have any); 1 teaspoon soy sauce; 1/2 teaspoon sugar; some grated fresh ginger; a little black pepper.





Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

1-2 steaks depending on their size and your hunger.  Rump or sirloin will work best.

Rub in the marinade and leave to marinate for 30-60 minutes.





Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

Make the dressing: 1 tablespoon fish sauce; 1.5 teaspoons toasted sesame oil; juice of 1/2-1 limes; 1.5 teaspoons light soy sauce; 1/2 teaspoon sugar; 1/2-1 birds eye red chilli, finally chopped; 1 very small or half a clove of garlic, finely minced.




When the steak's almost done marinating, prepare the rest of the salad: peel and slice half a mango (or as much as you like); same with a ripe avocado (I used half a large avocado). Put rocket on plates with the mango and avocado arranged on top.

Rachel Redlaw steak avocado mango salad
Rachel Redlaw steak avocado mango salad
Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

Heat a griddle pan until very hot, add the steak and sear for 2-4 minutes each side - depending on thickness of the steak - you want it lovely and browned on the outside and pink in the middle.

Leave the steak to rest on a board or plate for 3-4 minutes before slicing thinly.

Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

Add the steak to the plates of salad, drizzle over the dressing, scatter over some coriander leaves and serve immediately.






SUCH a great dish. Hope you love it too!


January salad

January food, to me, is ALL about freshness.  

After a lot of rich food over the Christmas period I absolutely crave a return to spicy fresh tastes and I really want salads ... and chillies too!

I want spicy and sour and sharp and completely zingy, plus crunchy and fresh.

So I've been making variations of my 'January salad' all week.

Rachel Redlaw January salad

So easy, it's just a simple basis from which to experiment - and a great way to use up things in the freezer - which is the other thing I'm doing in January.  No more buying what I feel like on the way home when in the freezer I found chicken, pork mince, scallops, squid and prawns!

To go with the salad I cook rice and a quick protein-based stir fry.  

One night it was strips of chicken sprinkled with a little soy sauce and some black pepper and stir-fried.  Another night it was prawns and squid stir-fried with sliced red and yellow peppers and a dash of oyster sauce.  Anything easy and quick and just what you have really.

Just don't make it spicy as the salad is hot! 

And, onto the salad part itself then.

I KNOW this is going to sound a bit of a faff for a salad but bear with me - it's honestly not, there's just a few components, but they are really simple to make and they make your salad something special. 

Read through right to the end before you start making it - and see what you already have that you could use! 

These are the approx quantities I use to make 'January salad' for two (greedy) people, but you really do have to taste as you go with this one and get it to your liking.  

The more often you make it, the easier and more instinctive it gets of course.

First, make the sweet part of the dressing that will balance out the spicy and sour flavours. 

Put two tablespoons (measure them!) of light brown sugar (use white if you don't have light brown) into a small saucepan with three tablespoons of water and slowly bring to a boil, simmer gently for literally just a minute and then remove from the heat.

Rachel Redlaw January salad

Next put all your salad-y things in a big bowl with room to toss it all together later.  

I used about 3/4 of a bag of 'crunchy' salad from the supermarket so it was crunchy lettuce and red cabbage and carrots.  I added thinly sliced green pepper and white onion.  

All of these are good: white onion, red onion, spring onion, carrots, courgettes, cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, peppers and anything else that's crunchy.  Just slice it nice and finely so it looks lovely as well as tastes good.

Put a few cherry tomatoes to one side to add later, or quarter a tomato or two (remove the core! no one wants to eat the core!).

I also really like a bit of added crunch to the texture so some nuts are good if you have them.

A small handful of peanuts would be perfect.  I didn't have any in the cupboard, so quickly toasted some flaked almonds in a hot dry frying pan for a few minutes.

Now the fun bit.  

Put a roughly chopped clove or two of garlic (depending on size) and a roughly chopped chilli or two (I used two birds eye chillies) into a mortar and crush them up with the pestle - you want them in really small pieces but not a total mush. 

Next my 'secret' ingredient - dried shrimp.  This is optional but if you can get hold of it (at an Asian supermarket or online) it keeps forever in the freezer, takes only minutes to defrost and makes your pad Thai authentic too ... 

Rachel Redlaw dried shrimp January salad

If you're using dried shrimp, add a small handful to the chilli/garlic mix and give it a bit of a bash then add the nuts (if using) and crush a bit more.  

Then add peanuts - if using - and bash a bit more.  (I was using more delicate toasted almonds so just added them at the end rather than over-crushing them now).

Rachel Redlaw January salad

Then the tomatoes go in to be squished and THEN tip everything from the mortar into the bowl of crunchy salad and stir it all in and maybe give it a bit of a crush with the pestle to make sure it's all mixed.

Pour in the sugar syrup, add 1.5 tablespoons of fish sauce and squeeze in the juice of a lime.

Use your (clean!) hands to scrunch and toss it all together and add a handful of chopped or torn coriander leaves too, if you have them and if you like coriander (I know a lot of people don't).

And, this is the really important bit, TASTE it and see if you need more fish sauce or more lime juice.

 Personally, I like my salads very spicy and very sour, but I've learnt to tone it down a little bit if I'm sharing - haha - so I think the quantities I've given should be right for most people, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to taste and make sure it's right for YOU.  

It's YOUR dinner so it needs to suit your palate.

And that's it.  

Honestly, I love this and right now eat a variant of it several times a week  - and often take leftovers in to work too for lunch the next day (with an extra chilli to add slices of and an extra lime to squeeze in).  

Rachel Redlaw January salad

I love the sharp flavours and the freshness, the soft chicken or prawns and the steaming rice with beautiful spicy sour salad.

Really want to know what you think of this one, so please do comment if you make your own version! 


Larb moo - spicy pork salad

This spicy salad is perfect for a light lunch or supper, or served with rice to make a more substantial meal.  It's really easy to make - being more about assembly than cooking.  I like very spicy food, so do use less chilli if you're less of a fan.

Serves 2-4 depending on greediness and what else you eat with it ...

1/8 cup risotto rice (to make roasted rice)

300g tenderloin pork, minced

2-3 limes

1/2 knorr stock cube, or a teaspoon of stock granules

1 spring onion, chopped

1/2 red onion (or shallots), chopped

handful each of mint leaves and parsley, chopped

1 tbspn crushed dry chillies

2 tbspn fish sauce

red chilli, sliced for garnish

little gem lettuce leaves, to serve

Let's make the roasted rice first.  The salad will still be yummy without it, but it adds a really authentic texture to the dish.  I think this is usually made with sticky rice but, as I don't have any, I use ristotto rice (my reasoning being that risotto rice is also quite starchy) and it works fine. I'm pretty sure normal rice would work too - worth a try before buying anything specially anyway!

1. Heat a pan, and pour in the rice.  Keep turning and stirring it on a low heat until it turns light brown (in about ten minutes).

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder larb moo

2. When it's cool (burning grains are so not fun), crush until fine - a pestle and mortar is good, a hammer or rolling pin would do. I use a coffee bean/spice grinder which makes it really easy!

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder larb moo

Get the other ingredients together ....

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder larb moo

... and chop and slice the onions, herbs and chilli.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder larb moo

I use tenderloin of pork as it's what I was originally taught to make the dish with, and for the same reason, I like to mince it by chopping it.  You could just throw it in the food processor - I tried this today for the first time and it worked perfectly.  Or, of course, you could just buy mince in the first place.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder larb moo
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder larb moo

3. Heat a pan (I just used the same one as the rice had been in) and when hot tip in the minced pork and squeeze over the juice of one lime.

4. Keep stirring until the pork is thoroughly cooked which will take 5-10 minutes - but don't overcook it.  Add the stock cube or granules in the last couple of minutes.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder larb moo

5. Tip the pork into a bowl and stir in the spring onion, red onion, mint and parsley, and mix together.

6. Add the roasted rice powder, dried chillies, lime juice from the remaining 1-2 limes (to taste) and fish sauce and mix again.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder larb moo

Served in little gem lettuce 'cups' and garnished with red chilli - this is easy to eat and really fresh tasting.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder larb moo

I would love to know if you liked this recipe, or if you tried it with different meat, or amended it at all ... do let me know.