Salted Kampot Pepper Steak Salad
This vibrant dinner-ready salad is inspired by the classic Cambodian dish Lok Lak (a sizzling beef stir fry served over crisp lettuce, tomatoes and onions with a Kampot pepper lime dipping sauce).
In this recipe, we've switched out the stir-fried beef for succulent skirt steak skewers grilled to umami-packed perfection. The skewers are served with a bountiful salad of mixed lettuces, jammy-yolked 9-minute eggs, thick wedges of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers and a mess of fresh herbs. The whole dish is dressed with a sweet 'n' tangy dressing of lime juice, brown sugar and salt, plus a generous smattering of crunchy salted Kampot peppercorns.
Recipe, food styling and photography by Asha Loupy
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
- Zest of one lime (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- Juice of one lime (about 2–3 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Red Boat Fish Sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed
- 8-inch wooden skewers, soaked
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups mixed lettuces (like little gems), washed and spun dry
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced on the bias
- 2–3 heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon Black Pearls (Salted Kampot Pepper) from Angkor Cambodian Food, plus more as desired
For the steak marinade, whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic in a large bowl. Set aside.
To prepare the steak, lay the skirt steak flat on a cutting board. Cut the skirt steak, with the grain, in segments about 6–8 inches wide. One steak segment at a time, turn the the segment so the grains of the meat are running left to right. Slice the meat, angling the knife slight and cutting against the grain, into thin strips about 1/3-inch thick (the strips should be about 1/3-inch thick, 1 1/2 inches wide and 6–8 long). Repeat with the remaining steak segments.
Transfer the sliced skirt steak into the bowl of reserved marinade and toss to coat. To make the skewers, thread two pieces of meat per skewer. Repeat with the remaining meat, transferring the finished skewers to a plate. Pour the leftover marinade over the finished skewers, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 3 hours (any longer and the lime juice will start to break down the meat).
About a half an hour before grilling the meat, start preparing the salad. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water, reduce the heat to medium high and cook for 9 minutes. Drain the eggs and place them into a bowl of ice water for 10–15 minutes. Peel the eggs and set aside.
While the eggs are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, brown sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
To cook the skewers, heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Grill the skewers until medium, about 2–3 minutes per side. Depending on the size of your grill pan, you may have to cook the skewers in batches. To keep warm, transfer the cooked skewers to a plate and tent with aluminum foil while cooking the remaining skewers.
To assemble the salad, arrange the mixed lettuces on a large platter. Scatter the basil, mint and green onions over the lettuces and gently toss to combine. Nestle the sliced cucumber and tomato wedges among the lettuces and herbs. Arrange the steak skewers on top of the salad. Cut the reserved boiled eggs in half and arrange the halved eggs on the salad as well. Spoon half of the lime dressing over the salad and skewers and garnish with a sprinkling of salted Kampot peppercorns. Serve the remaining dressing on the side to add more at the table, as desired.