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Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad

Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad

This Vietnamese beef and watercress salad has chunks of pan seared beef on a bed of crispy watercress and is dressed in a tangy Vietnamese nuoc mam sauce. It is a great way to to get more vegetables in your diet and is perfect for anyone looking for an easy and healthy meal for family or friends. 
Measurements: 1 cup = 250 ml, 1 tbsp = 15 ml, 1 tsp  5 ml
Course Rice Dish
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword Beef Salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Author Scruff


  • 400 gm beef steak (best you can afford) at room temperature and cubed (Note 1)
  • 150 gm watercress / leafy salad mix / or both, washed and trimmed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 - 8 cherry tomatoes or 2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 stalks of coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 granny smith apple, cut into thin strips


  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp corn flour

Nuoc Mam Salad Dressing

  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp palm vinegar or white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 - 2 birds eye chilli, chopped (optional)


  • Combine the marinade ingredients and the cubed beef in a large bowl. Then cover with cling wrap and allow to marinate for 20 mins.
  • Make the salad dressing by combining the sugar and hot water in a bowl. With a spoon, dissolve as much of the sugar as possible.
  • Add the remaining dressing ingredients and combine thoroughly. Cover with cling wrap and set aside.
  • Prep all your vegetables. For best results, spin dry the watercress / salad mix after washing.
  • Heat a pan on medium - high heat and add vegetable oil. Fry the beef cubes to desired state. I like mine medium, so roughly 5-6 mins. (Note 2)
  • Place the watercress / salad mix, tomatoes, red onion and green apple in a large bowl.
  • Just before serving, spoon half of the dressing into the salad and toss. 
  • Check the salad for seasoning. Add more dressing if needed and serve the remaining dressing in a bowl for anyone who wants additional sauce.
  • Place the salad on a plate with the beef cubes on top and serve with rice.


  1. If you are short on time, skip marinating the beef and do not cube the steak. Cook it like you would a normal steak with a little salt and pepper on each side. Cut it into thin strips before tossing through the salad.
  2. Make sure the fry pan is hot and is large enough so that the beef cubes are not overcrowded. This will ensure you get a nice sear on the beef and do not steam it.