Spicy steak with Chinese cabbage

Steak and salad gets an easy upgrade with a post-grill marinade of Asian flavours.


As quick, easy dinners for two go, this is one of my quickest and easiest. It's exactly what you need when the very idea of cooking seems beyond you: low on effort, high on immediate gratification.

Because steak salads are so simple, they're incredibly versatile. This one is catalogued in my mind as the one with the Asian vibe, with its trinity of chilli, lime and brown sugar, not to mention the warm, smoky depth of sesame oil and flecks of fresh coriander.

The idea here is that one steak is plainly grilled and left to rest for a few minutes in a delicious concoction. You slice it up, add it to a bed of leafy greens, and the post-grill marinade is drizzled over as a dressing. So simple, it could only be easier if someone else was actually making it.

The leafy green in this case is Chinese cabbage, also called napa cabbage or wombok, depending on where you live. Despite its name, it's more like crunchy lettuce and makes for a great, fork-friendly salad.

But all this is only a suggestion. Cook your favourite cut of steak – or steaks, if you like – however you prefer, use whatever leaf you want, tricking it up with more leaves and fresh herbs if the mood takes you. Any way you look at, it's mere moments away.

Spicy steak with Chinese cabbage


Serves 2.

250g (½ lb) steak
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
3 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

Brush the steak lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook it the way you like it. I cook mine for 3 to 4 minutes a side (depending on thickness) on a chargrill pan over medium-high heat, but frying pan, skillet, barbecue, rare, medium: it's your call.

Meanwhile, in a shallow dish which will accommodate the steak snugly, whisk together the olive oil, chilli flakes, sesame oil, salt, lime juice, brown sugar and coriander.

When the steak is cooked, transfer it to the marinade and leave it to rest for 2 minutes a side. Transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with sesame seeds and cut into thick slices.

Shred the Chinese cabbage with a serrated bread knife and line two plates with it. Top with the sliced steak and drizzle over the marinade – now a dressing.