In its classic form, nahm dtok is a Thai grilled meat salad with an abundance of herbs, a fish-sauce-spiked dressing and extra texture from roasted rice powder. This version from sAme sAame chef Ben Williamson spins a traditional salad into a contemporary share course, adding body with a bed of whipped cashew and an extra lick of fire flavour with charcoal oil.
Westholme rib cap - lightly seared and sliced - is the perfect cut for this dish. “It has the robust flavour and the right balance of marbling and bite to carry the bright flavours of the salad, and a richness which plays beautifully with the slightly sweet cashew element,” says Ben
150g (5.3 oz) Westholme rib cap, trimmed
salt & white pepper, to taste
400g (14 oz) cashew nuts, lightly roasted
1 garlic clove, bruised
300g (10.5 oz) chilled water
2 limes, juice only
10g (0.25 oz) salt
300g (10.5 oz) neutral oil (eg grapeseed or canola)
1 tbsp fish sauce
pinch palm sugar
1 tbsp galangal powder
2 tbsp glutinous rice, raw, roasted and ground
6-8 hot coals
1 litre (34 oz) vegetable oil
2 tbsp beef garum or fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
good pinch smoked chilli powder, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp charcoal oil (recipe below)
1 red shallot, sliced thickly
2 tbsp mint leaves
2 tbsp sawtooth coriander, roughly chopped
1 tbsp coriander leaves
1 tbsp Vietnamese mint leaves (choose smaller leaves)
1 tbsp laksa leaves (choose smaller leaves)
1 tbsp pepper elder leaves (see note)
2 dried chillies, toasted and torn, seeds discarded
2 garlic cloves, minced and fried
1 tbsp glutinous rice, raw, roasted and ground
Combine nuts, garlic, water, lime juice and salt in a Thermomix or blender then blend to a thick paste adding more water as needed.
Start to drizzle in oil, adding water as needed to achieve a smooth paste. This can be made thick or thin, depending on desired application.
Add fish sauce, palm sugar, galangal and rice powder and mix through. Adjust seasoning to taste. (You’ll have more than is needed for the recipe; store remainder in fridge.)
Very carefully extinguish hot coals in room temperature oil then allow to cool and infuse for around an hour. Drain through an oil filter for use.
Combine all dressing ingredients except the oil and adjust seasoning levels (it should be pungent, savoury and sharp). The charcoal oil is added when plating.
Season the Wagyu with salt and white pepper then grill over very hot coals to rare. Rest before slicing thinly against the grain.
Spoon whipped cashew onto a plate, arrange the Wagyu on top, then dress liberally with the dressing. Split with the charcoal oil by spooning it over the dressing.
Arrange the herbs on top with ground roasted rice and fried garlic. Serve immediately.
Laksa leaf is also known as Vietnamese mint or Vietnamese coriander.
Pepper elder is a herb that grows in tropical areas and is commonly used in