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Thai beef salad

Serves 4

It might sound surprising, but steak can make a frugal meal, and this is a great way of stretching a steak you might normally think of serving for two to serve four. There are, admittedly, quite a few other ingredients, but if you're into Thai flavours you should be able to find good use for them.

1tbsp Thai jasmine rice or basmati
1/2tsp crushed chillies (or 1/4 tsp hot smoked pimentón)
A thick slice of lean rump steak (about 400g/13oz), trimmed of any fat
1tbsp sunflower or light olive oil
11/2-2tsp golden or white caster sugar
The juice of 2 limes, preferably unwaxed (3-4 tbsp)
2-3tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
4 small peeled shallots (or 3-4 spring onions), very finely sliced
1-2 small fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
3 heaped tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
2 heaped tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
125g/4oz cherry tomatoes, quartered
Rocket or mixed salad leaves, to serve

Heat a ridged grill pan over a moderate heat, add the rice and dry fry, stirring occasionally until golden and fragrant (about five minutes). Take off the heat, allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then grind with a mortar and pestle or the end of a rolling pin. Toast the crushed chillies the same way for about a minute and set aside.

Wipe the pan, turn up the heat and then, when the pan is almost smoking, rub the steak with a little oil and cook for about one-and-a-half minutes each side until charred but still rare. Set aside to cool while you make the dressing. Dissolve the sugar in the lime juice, add garlic, two tablespoons of the fish sauce, two tablespoons of water and half the roasted chillies or pimentó and taste. Add more fish sauce and chillies if you think the dressing needs it. Finely slice the steak with a sharp knife. Tip the steak strips and any juices into a bowl with the dressing and add the sliced shallots, fresh chillies, chopped coriander, mint and cherry tomatoes and toss together. Scatter a large handful of mixed salad leaves or shredded iceberg lettuce over a large platter and top with the beef salad. Sprinkle with the toasted rice.