Thai beef with quail egg

Karen Martini
Weeping tiger meets a quail.
Weeping tiger meets a quail. Photo: Marina Oliphant

This is a variation on a classic Thai salad that relies on a traditional balance of flavours complemented by the richness of quail eggs, fresh herbs and the contrasting texture of toasted rice. Served on spoons, it is ideal for a stand-up event, but it could easily be served as a salad.


6 quail eggs

1 tbsp heaped uncooked glutinous white rice (see note)

2 red shallots, sliced finely

20g palm sugar, finely grated

1 spring onion, sliced finely into rounds

¼ bunch of coriander leaves, picked and finely chopped

¼ bunch Thai basil leaves, chiffonade rolled or stacked and sliced thinly

¼ bunch of mint, also chiffonade

200g sirloin, wagyu if you like

1 tbsp of kecap manis (thick Indonesian soy sauce)

½ cucumber, julienned

1 tsp celery seeds, ground with 1 tsp of flaked salt


50ml lime juice

20ml fish sauce

2 birds eye chillies, sliced finely

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

¼ tsp roasted chilli powder

12 Chinese-style spoons to serve on


Glutinous rice is the specific varietal type that becomes sticky when cooked and can be readily obtained from your Asian grocer.


Cook quail eggs in boiling water for 2½ minutes, lift out and refresh under cold water and peel. Slice in half.

Toast the rice in a pan until light brown and then smash into a powder in a mortar and pestle.

Combine shallots and palm sugar, press together with your fingers until the sugar breaks down, and let sit.

Combine spring onion and herbs.

Sear the sirloin steak for three minutes each side in a hot pan or on a griddle. Once cooked, smear kecap manis over each side of the steak and let rest. Once rested, slice steak into 12 pieces.

For the dressing, combine all ingredients, taste and adjust if necessary.

Line up spoons. Place a little of the sugar and shallots in the base of each spoon, top with herbs and a slice of the beef, some cucumber, half a quail egg and a pinch of the celery salt.

Spoon over a teaspoon of the dressing and sprinkle with toasted rice.