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thai beef salad with sliced beef on a plate

Authentic Nam Tok recipe, Thai grilled beef waterfall salad.

  • Author: Suwanee
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Low Fat


Nam Tok Thai beef waterfall salad is a popular salad in Northeast Thailand using marinate grilled steak. The beef is typically cooked rare than sliced to place over a salad made with shallot, lemongrass, mint, cilantro, green onion, chili flakes, fresh lime juice, fish sauce, and most importantly, the dry toasted ground rice powder. This authentic recipe is the perfect dish to wrap up your summer grilling. 


For marinating: 

•1 lb top sirloin or grilling steak of choice

•2 large cloves finely minced garlic

•1 Tbsp oil (coconut, vegetable, canola, grape seed, NOT olive oil)

•1 Tbsp oyster sauce

•1 Tbsp Thai thin soy sauce

•1 Tbsp fish sauce

•1 Tbsp granulated sugar

•1 Tbsp lime juice

•1 tsp ground white pepper

For the salad:

•1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup sliced)

•½ cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

•2 stalks green onion, sliced

•¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped

•1/4 cup lemongrass thinly sliced into small round pieces. See note for tips*

•2 Tbsp fish sauce

•2.5 Tbsp lime juice

• chili flakes, as needed (optional)

•2 ½ Tbsp ground dry roasted rice powder, dry means no oil is used while toasted the uncooked rice in a pan over the stove


  1. Dry toast the rice, let cool
  2. Use a spice grinder and ground the rice until almost to powder, leave a few pieces in larger chunks for the extra crunch. Set aside for the salad
  3. Mix all the marinating ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Rinse the meat, pat dry with a paper towel, then place the meat in the marinating sauce in the bowl until all sides are covered well.
  5. Place the meat in a zip lock bag. Pour the remaining sauce from the bowl into the bag and shake the bag a little bit to blend in the meat pieces. Squeezed out the air and seal the bag tight. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 1-5 hours. If you are short on time, check out the expert tips on marinating. Let the meat sit 30 minutes at room temperature before grilling.
  6. Turn the grill to medium-high and grill the meat for 8-10 minutes on each side or until meat is at a desired rare or medium-rare temperature. Remove from the grill and let the meat rest 10-15 minutes before slicing. Use aluminum foil to wrap the cooked steak and also to hold in the tasty juices from the grilled meat.
  7. Prepare the salad, and add all the ingredients except the toasted rice and chili flakes in a medium-sized bowl. Let the salad sit for 5 minutes while you get ready to slice the meat.
  8. Slice the steak against the grain into 1-2 inches long, and save all the juices, very important!
  9. Place the meat over the salad, mix together lightly and sprinkled on toasted rice powder, and mix well.
  10. Add chili flakes, more lime juice, or fish sauce to your liking and that’s it! Serve with sticky rice, jasmine rice, or just eat it plain as a hearty and delicious salad! 


  • It’s important to note that you want to cook the beef on the rare or medium-rare side for this recipe. The lime juice used in the salad dressing will continues to cook the meat even further after the grilling. 
  • Adding the toasted rice is the final step to making Nam Tok. It’s what makes the dish authentic and a step I wouldn’t recommend skipping for this recipe. See FAQ section on how to make the ground toasted rice.
  • If you are short on time, marinate the meat for 30 minutes at room temperature. To help speed up the process of marinating, make sure to massage the meat, in a sealed zip lock bag where the meat is mixed in with the marinating sauce for 1-2 minutes on each side every 10 minutes.  
  • For the lemongrass, use only the bottom thickest part of the stalk 5-6 inches from the bottom. 
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Easy
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: Nam tok recipe. Authentic Thai grilled beef waterfall salad. Thai beef salad. Namtok beef. waterfall beef.