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Photos by Paulette Phlipot

Chef's Specialty
Rickshaw's Thai Beef Salad
Chef Andreas Heaphy, owner of Rickshaw, creates big flavor inspired by simple traditional Asian cuisine. Text by
Sabina Dana Plasse. Photos by Paulette Phlipot.

It is no secret that one of Sun Valley’s distinguishing attributes is the healthy lifestyle enjoyed by so many who spend time here. So, when Chef Andreas Heaphy opened his restaurant, Rickshaw, in Ketchum two years ago, it was important to him to emulate that Sun Valley ethos of living and eating well, especially since it was his creed, too.

Heaphy created Rickshaw as a harmonious restaurant, where the balance of flavor in its Asian-inspired cuisine reflects an intimate but relaxed dining experience. "The menu is Asian tapas or Asian street food, where the portions are small so you can try everything," said Heaphy. "The reason I started it is because of my pot stickers (made with organic pork and served with a sweet chili sauce). The restaurant is a good venue to get a specialty food line off the ground, and this is my test kitchen."

Originally from Westchester, N.Y., Heaphy was drawn to Asian food more than 15 years ago when he first moved to the Wood River Valley to work at the former China Pepper in Ketchum. He then attended culinary school in Portland, Oregon, before moving to New York City to work as a saucier for famed restaurateur and chef David Bouley, owner of Bouley Bakery and Danube in Manhattan. "It was an unpaid internship where I was thrown into the trenches," said Heaphy.

Heaphy also spent a lot of time traveling in Thailand. His experiences have inspired his menu and given him a huge appreciation for Eastern life, which he has woven into all aspects of Rickshaw. "The food is very fresh, aromatic and really healthy," said Heaphy.

The Thai Beef Salad on Rickshaw’s menu is a prime example of Heaphy’s fusion of Thai life and cuisine. The all-natural organic flatiron beef he uses is hormone free, tender and flavorful. It is prepared with a traditional marinade, a combination of hot-and-sour and salty-and-sweet tastes, such as peanut oil and garlic as well as fish sauce, brown sugar and Thai chilies. "The beef is one pound and should be cut thinly. Grill it for about two minutes on each side, and it will really spread out."

The salad, prepared separately, includes rice vermicelli noodles, shallots, succulent vegetables, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and other spices, all served on a bed of butter lettuce. Its simple dressing is just lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Marinades and dressings are an integral part of Thai cuisine. "It hits you from every direction," explained Heaphy. "There is not a whole lot of cooking in much of Thai food because they don’t have a lot of fuel."

Heaphy often uses banana leaves for a garnish, which he unfolds and slices down from large sheets into mat-size pieces. "It has an earthy and tea aroma, which is very Asian."

The Thai Beef Salad is a simple salad that looks very intricate. When serving, Heaphy places the beef around the salad and garnishes it with mounds of cilantro, mint, limes, beets, cucumbers and crushed peanuts. A topper of fried garlic finishes off the dish. "It is one of my favorite dishes that (prep time aside) takes about 10 minutes to assemble."

Thai Beef Salad
Ingredients—Serves 4

Beef Marinade
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp garlic (minced)
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Thai chili (substitute: chili peppers)
1 pound flat iron beef (cut into medallions)

2 tbsp lemongrass (minced)
1 tbsp kaffir lime leaves (minced)
1/2 cup carrots (julienned)
1/4 cup celery (minced)
1/4 cup mint (minced)
1/4 cup cilantro (minced)
1/4 cup Thai basil (minced)
2 tbsp Thai chili (minced)
1/4 cup shallots (minced)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2 cup English cucumber (diced)
1 cup rice vermicelli (soaked in hot water
for 5 minutes, cooled and drained)
1 head butter lettuce

1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup fried shallots
lime wedges
mint sprigs
cilantro sprigs
1/2 cup peanuts (roasted and minced)

Combine beef with marinade and let rest for one to four hours. Prepare dressing and set aside. Prepare salad ingredients and set aside. Prepare grill to medium heat, and grill beef to desired preference. Place lettuce leaves on a platter. Toss salad ingredients with dressing and place on top of lettuce leaves. Arrange grilled beef on top of salad and sprinkle with fried shallots and minced peanuts. Arrange lime wedges and herb sprigs of mint and cilantro.