Tuesday, April 30, 2013

N - Nahm Dtok (Grilled Beef Salad)

A Photograph of Nham Dtok (Grilled Beef Salad)
Nham Dtok (Grilled Beef Salad)

“The name of this salad comes from the beads of meat juice that form on the side farthest from the heat as the meat grills, which Thai cooks refer to as ‘nahm dtock’ – literally ‘water falling’. This is their cue to turn the meat, which is normally cooked to medium-rare.”

– David Thomas, ‘Thai Food’

More photographs inside.
We're back!! We have been awfully remiss with the Project over the past couple of weeks and we have no excuse other than to claim, rather lamely, that it has been a bit of a shock to the system to have to start fending for ourselves again after the in-laws took their leave. We thought we’d better give ourselves a shake, pull up socks and get cooking again.

To ease back into the swing of things, we choose this grilled beef salad from David Thomas’ comprehensive tome of Thai recipes, ‘Thai Food’. It was simple to prepare – just a matter of toasting some grains of rice for the garnish, pan frying the beef, then slicing it and assembling the salad.

A photograph of rice being toasted in a pan
Toasting the rice

I love a good herby salad and this one didn’t disappoint, with its mixture of coriander and mint. The recipe asked for long leaf coriander, which, frankly, I’d never heard of and couldn’t think where to find, but the salad worked fine without it.  No doubt the additional herb is included in the salad for a reason, but what it is, is something we will discover the next time we make this.

The salad dressing was a mixture of lime juice (acidic!), fish sauce (salty!) and chilli powder (hot hot hot!). I was rather worried that it would be too pungent, but drizzled over the salad it was surprisingly well balanced. I suppose you just can’t go wrong with lime juice and fish sauce trickling through fresh green herbs. The toasted rice added crunch and textural interest to this great little salad.

A Photograph of Nham Dtok (Grilled Beef Salad)
Nham Dtok (Grilled Beef Salad)

If we would change anything for next time, it would be to cook the meat at a higher heat for a shorter time. Our slices of beef were more on the lightly pink medium side rather than the medium rare that the recipe calls for. We will definitely be making this again as it was quick, easy and very satisfying for a mid-week meal.

Technical Details
Unfortunately I forgot to take a lighting setup shot for this weeks post!

I'll describe the lights used for the first image. Unfortunately I have only 2 strobes but could have used a couple more.

The main light for this was a Canon 430EX II fired at 1/4th into the ceiling.

The second light, a Canon 580 EX II fired at 1/128th into the red blind in the background.

If I had another light, I'd fire it from behind the subject at around 2 o'clock zoomed to 105mm as a key light. I would also bounce the light form this strobe using a white foam core board to brighten up the left hand side of the image.

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