published Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Courters' Kitchen: Fresh, local ingredients give versatile Thai salad its pop

The dressing for this Thai Beef Salad is made with
fish sauce, lime juice, lime leaves and lemongrass.
The dressing for this Thai Beef Salad is made with fish sauce, lime juice, lime leaves and lemongrass.
Photo by Barry Courter.

This monthly cooking series features husband and wife team Barry and Kelley Courter.

KELLEY SAYS: This Grilled Thai Beef Salad is fairly simple, but it took some tweaking along the way. I tasted everything several times throughout and added a little more pepper here or a little more oil there.

What really made it special was that I bought everything at local markets, or pulled it from my own herb garden. I bought what was available and you can do the same, no matter the season.

BARRY: Showcasing the things that are available at local markets has always been the intent of this monthly food feature. It's fun to try new things and Kelley loves going to the different ethnic markets, especially the Asian markets, and coming home with a new spice or an unusual vegetable or fruit. The vendors know her now and suggest things.

KELLEY: In this salad, for example, we used garlic chives from the Asian market. A little different, but any similar vegetable will work. The best part is that everything just tastes fresher and brighter. The Thai peppers give it a big boost, too.

BARRY: It was delicious, but the best part for me was the salad and leftover meat made for an excellent bahn mi -- perhaps the greatest sandwich ever invented when it's done right -- the next night.

KELLEY: This is definitely a dish that can be done several ways, depending on what you like.

Grilled Thai Beef Salad


1 1/2 inch lemongrass stalk (the white part), sliced thinly

8 lime leaves, sliced thinly

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 lime

Stir and add a little of this or that to taste.


1 tablespoon local honey

2 tablespoons peach juice

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

1 large shallot, minced

1 tablespoon peanut oil

Fresh ground pepper

Stir and add a little of this or that to taste preference.


1 pound filet mignon

1/2 head cabbage, sliced thin

3 tablespoons Thai basil, chopped

4 Thai chili peppers

3 green onions, sliced with tops included

3 tablespoons garlic chives, sliced

1 red pepper, diced

1 small carrot, grated

1 cup fresh, sliced cucumbers

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Grill the meat to preference. (You could use flank steak, but it needs to be marinated to make it tender). Slice it thinly. Mix the salad ingredients with the dressing, then top with several slices of the meat and serve.

Contact Barry Courter at or 4232-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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