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A Tamarind Beef & Kohlrabi Salad and A Brand New Year!

Thai Beef Salad

A new year! Wishing you a great 2014. May it be filled with all the things you work, wish, hope for! May it be filled with creative energy, engaging people and wonderful moment! It’s been a whirlwind of a year for us. A new position, a move, living apart for most of the year. Seeing friends get married, others have babies. There has been some really tough times too, which I may come back and share with you although I am not quite ready for that yet. You have been there all along, reading and sharing with me and it has made 2013 very dear to me.



It’s been a perfect mix of busy and quiet around here. My parents arrived the week before Christmas and are staying a couple more weeks. In the middle of work and play, we have had a wonderful time with friends and family, taking short and longer road trips, dogs in tow. We’ve enjoyed long simmered meals and new restaurants, quiet reading time and effervescent card games. A nice cozying time. For sure.

Thai Beef Salad

When my parents come visit, I like to spoil them a bit and won’t let them do too much around the house. It gives them time to really enjoy each other’s company, take walks, make plans, etc… I love cooking dinner for them and making them dishes I know they don’t usually try at home. I cook from so many different cuisines that I always enjoy making them discover something new. A typical week ranges from French, to American, Mexican, Asian, Italian, Moroccan. It keeps me immensely happy in the kitchen. 

One of the cuisines I find myself cooking and craving a lot is Vietnamese. Thai is definitely a really close seconds. Can’t explain why. It comes in waves. We could have an entire month of Vietnamese and Thai dishes and dive right away in another of Italian and French or Northern African. I love spices and herbs. I love the play that each cuisines does with them, so different in taste and flavor, and yet intrinsically similar blending the sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Umami. To our palates and in our plates.


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One of the highlights of December for me was this Tamarind Beef & Kohlrabi Salad from Luke N’Guyen’s "My Vietnam". This books is both a delight for the eyes as it is to the taste buds. This dish is great post heavy holiday party meals with the refreshing crunch of beets, carrots, kohlrabi and the deep flavors of mint and fresh coriander. It’s hard to stop at one serving, let’s just put it this way. 

Hope you enjoy it too! Best served with a cold refreshing beer I might add…

Thai Beef Salad

Tamarind Beef & Kohlrabi Salad (adapted slightly from Luke N’Guyen’s My Vietnam cookbook)

Serves 4


1/2 cup peeled & julienned carrots

1/2 cup peeled & julienned kohlrabi

1/2 cup peeled & julienned beetroot

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used sesame)

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 shallot, crushed

12 oz lean beef fillet, trimmed and sliced into 1/8 inch slices

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate 

1 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves, sliced

1 cup mint leaves

1 tablespoon fish sauce

juice of one lime

2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon crushed peanuts

1 red chili, sliced


In a bowl, combine the kohlrabi, carrots, beets and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes then drain.

In  a medium frying pan set over high heat, heat the oil and add the garlic and shallot. Cook just a minute until fragrant. Add the beef and stir fry just until the beef for about 2-3 minutes. Season with the pepper. Add one tablespoon of the tamarin and toss to mix.

In another bowl, combine the kohlrabi, carrots, beetroot, coriander, mint and beef. Add the remaining tablespoon of tamarind along with the fish sauce, lime juice, and sesame oil. Toss well and garnish with the peanuts and chili. Enjoy!


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Savory Simple January 6, 2014 um 10:59 pm

So incredibly gorgeous! Happy New Year!

Sarah Toasty January 6, 2014 um 11:33 pm

saw some tamarind beef in bon app this month, seems like people want me to eat tamarind on beef jeez lol

looks amazing, can't wait to try!

KristinHoltPhotography January 7, 2014 um 12:11 am

I love your work! Love the DOF & colors! I partial to low key. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Thank you for all that you do!

Denise January 7, 2014 um 12:35 am

Happy New Year to both you and Bill. This recipe is completely right up our cooking alley – adore all of the flavors. Will have to give it a try, as well as add the book to our collection.

Carolyn Himes January 7, 2014 um 4:38 pm

Wishing you the best for 2014! Thank you for your work and inspiration Helene.

Carolyn Himes January 7, 2014 um 4:39 pm

Happy New Year Helene and thank you for being an inspiration in my work and life.

Maria @ Foodpix January 7, 2014 um 8:03 pm

Healthy and delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe

VelezDelights January 8, 2014 um 1:11 am

Happy New Year! Loving this post ๐Ÿ™‚

Amelia January 8, 2014 um 4:23 pm

Looks amazing!!
I could eat it right now!!
Love your photos, as always!

j.suailin January 9, 2014 um 2:26 am

Happy new year! This dish would go well with our staple food i.e rice here in Malaysia. Love your pixs ..looking forward to more.

j.suailin January 9, 2014 um 2:42 am

Happy new year, may good things come your way too! This beef dish would go well with rice here in Malaysia.Good to read of your time spent entertaining family and love your pixs..cheers!!

Shari – Shari's SimplyGluten Free January 12, 2014 um 6:25 pm

Looking forward to trying this dish. Perhaps I can sub the kohlrabi with turnips.

Anonymous January 13, 2014 um 6:19 am

Happy New Year to you too!
We absolutely love this salad too. I often make it in the summer. Luke Nguyen's books are some of my favorite cookbooks ever and every recipe I have tried from his books were simply delicious.

Unknown January 13, 2014 um 9:08 am

That's looks delicious.
And the picture are absolutely beautiful.

sam January 13, 2014 um 12:53 pm

Looks fabulous. Happy new year ๐Ÿ™‚

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures January 13, 2014 um 1:36 pm

Happy New Year!!! This salad is gorgeous!

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures January 13, 2014 um 1:36 pm

Happy New Year! This salad is gorgeous!!

erica January 13, 2014 um 11:36 pm

happy new year – what a great and quick stir-fry! Best wishes for a great year ahead.

Penny January 14, 2014 um 3:30 pm

Happy New Year Helene. I was hoping to come to the blogging conference Jan. 24th, but too much is going on. Hope your 2014 is a good year. You are always an inspiration.

Alexandra Schijf January 14, 2014 um 6:52 pm

Dear Helene, I really love your work. The colors and your choice of props is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your great work with us! Regards, Alexandra

A Toast to the Good Life January 15, 2014 um 6:51 pm

This looks delicious! Love the photos! Thank you sharing… will certainly give this a try. ๐Ÿ™‚

Adam January 18, 2014 um 3:25 am

Looks great, happy new year!

Greg Urbano January 21, 2014 um 3:50 pm

Your food photography has this looking so delicious!

Unknown January 22, 2014 um 4:10 pm

Made this recipe last night. It was delicious, and I will be making it again!

Casey@atouchofzest January 22, 2014 um 4:47 pm

This looks simply gorgeous! Your photography never ceases to inspire me!

CavaCava January 27, 2014 um 3:46 pm

It looks very inviting. I never knew Tamarind will match perfectly on a dish like this.

Healthy Workouts February 8, 2014 um 5:27 am

This dish looks refreshing and tasty. Will definitely try it this weekend ๐Ÿ˜€

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