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the world's largest religious monument built in the 12th century
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Nhoam Sach Ko
Khmer Beef Salad

Relevant photo to come ...

This reminds me of my father. ‘Plea sach ko (Khmer beef tartare) and ‘nhoam sach ko’ (Khmer beef salad) were two of his favourite dishes. Both are similar but the latter, Khmer beef salad, doesn’t contain prahok (Khmer fish paste), and is easier to prepare.  Khmer beef salad is served either as an appetizer or a main dish. Its refreshingly sharp taste enhanced by the appealing aroma of roasted galangal makes this a must-have dish on hot summer days.

Did you know
Beef tenderloin is known as the ‘eye fillet’ in New Zealand and Australia; as ‘beef filet’ in South Africa and the UK. This cut, especially the center part – which is traditionally known as filet mignon or Chateaubriand can be very expensive. However, due to its un-even shape, its tail or end part is cheaper. I use that part for this recipe for which the beef is to be sliced anyway - so, shape doesn't matter...



Serves 4


Beef filet 800g (1¾ lb)
Shallots 2, peeled, very thinly sliced lengthwise
Mint leaves 1 handful, stalks removed and discarded, washed and patted dry
Beansprouts1 1 cup, tail removed, washed and patted dry
Lemon grass2 1 stem, outer leaves discarded, trimmed and paper-thinly sliced
Finger chilli ½, cut thinly into rings (for less heat, remove seeds first)
Bird’s eye chillies a few, use whole for garnish
Roasted unsalted peanuts3 2 Tbsp, coarsely crushed  - see recipe
Lettuce leaves a few to line the serving plate

Galangal dressing - see recipe


1 - First line the serving plate with lettuce leaves, cover with cling film (saran wrap) and set aside. 

2 - Grill the beef filet under a very high heat for 2-3 minutes each side (depending on the grill and the thickness of the filet). This is to achieve a medium rare cooked beef. It should be dark brown on the outside and pink in the middle. When pressed, it should be firm on the surface but still soft inside. (Note: medium rare is recommended for this dish). 

3 - Cover the beef and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Then thinly slice across the grain into ½ cm (⅛ inch) thickness.  

4 - Transfer the beef and its juice to a large bowl, add the shallots, half of the mint leaves, bean sprouts, chilli and lemon grass. Toss together to mix. Then add a few tablespoons of the galangal dressing and mix well. Adjust to taste.  

5 - Transfer the beef salad into the prepared serving plate, sprinkle with roasted peanuts, the rest of the mint leaves, top with bird’s eye chillies and serve with steamed rice.  


1 If preferred, bean sprouts can be substituted by thinly sliced radishes or fine julienned granny smith apples. 

2 If not available, use a teaspoon of grated lime or lemon zest instead.

3 You can buy raw peanuts without shells but still with skin on at Asian grocery stores.