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We have so many wonderful native ingredients in Australia, and one of my favourites has to be lemon myrtle. It grows in many gardens around the country, it’s foliage is very pretty and it gives off the most intense scent whenever it rains or is windy. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and give off an amazing lemongrass flavour that will lift many of your favourite dishes to new heights – especially south east Asian cooking where you can replace lemongrass. You can buy it in many online shops, try here:

The star of the show in this dish, however is the skirt steak, also known as flank steak. It’s a hard working muscle, which basically means that it’s full of beefy flavour. But it also means that it can be tough, as the grains of meat are very strong. It’s also a cheaper cut, so you can afford to buy from a better quality animal. There are several techniques to follow when cooking skirt steak:

  • Choose: a good quality piece of meat – look for MSA accreditation
  • Marinate: this will help break down the proteins. Whether you have alcohol, an acid, salt, or sugar in your marinade… it will all help!
  • Remove: from fridge 1 hour before cooking, so it comes to room temperature.
  • Cook: on high heat, for a short period of time (medium rare)
  • Turn: the meat every 30 seconds, to create a rotisserie effect, ensuring the juices never rise to the top and escape
  • Rest: the meat for half the cooking time
  • Slice: thinly against the grain

NB for this recipe (and generally in your kitchen) you will need a spice grinder. It’s just toooooo hard to do this in a mortar and pestel, and it takes a matter of seconds in a spice grinder. I picked one up for just $13 from K-mart and it has changed my life!

Crying tiger beef skirt salad with lemon myrtle dressing

Serves 6

To marinade the steak:

  • 1 skirt steak
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp kecap manis
  • 1 Tbsp grated dark palm sugar
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp oil

for the dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp rice, raw
  • 1 eschallot (small purple onion), very finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, very finely chopped
  • ½ bunch coriander, stems and roots, very finely chopped (leaves set aside)
  • 2 dried red hot chillies (or to taste), finely chopped
  • 5 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 5 Tbsp tamarind
  • 5 Tbsp coconut vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp grated dark palm sugar
  • 1 tsp dried lemon myrtle powder

for the salad:

  • 1 bunch snake beans
  • 400g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 lebanese cucumbers


  • Place all marinade ingredients in a bowl and generously coat the steak. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • For the dressing, place raw rice in a non stick fry pan on medium heat and cook until caramel brown. Place in a spice grinder and grind until smooth. Finely chop the eschallot, spring onion, and coriander roots and stems. Mix with ground rice and remaining ingredients.
  • To cook the steak, take a non stick pan or bbq and heat to high. Cook the steak, turning every so often until medium rare. Let rest before slicing thinly against the grain.
  • To finish the salad, slice tomatoes, cucumbers and snake beans and place in a bowl or serving dish. Place sliced steak on top, and then spoon over dressing. Finally, top with reserved coriander leaves.