Zanzibari Grilled Steak Salad with a Passion Fruit Dressing



Tropical fruit manages to sneak its way into a lot of Zanizbar’s ‘savoury’ dishes. Ordinarily, this kind of breach of the sweet/savoury boundaries is not the kind of thing I’m keen on. Blame lies with a memorably bad apricot chicken incident in childhood I think. But I’m a grown up now, and have increasingly come to think that most flavour combinations can work in the right place, done in the right way. After eating (and enjoying) passion fruit as a salad dressing on more than one occasion in the restaurants of Stonetown, I thought I might try it at home and see how the transition went.

The result is very fresh and vibrant salad, that presents beautifully thanks to the lovely contrast of bright passion fruit pulp against a white plate. It is also quite good fun to serve given that people are not used to eating fruit with their steak! If you are still a bit ‘jury’s out’ on this one, perhaps try keeping the passion fruit to the sides, where it looks prettiest, and can be snuck into the rest of the salad in small doses until you’ve convinced yourself one way or the other...



(Serves 4 as a starter)

  • 400g of minute steak

For the marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 100ml soy sauce
  • 3cm piece of fresh ginger – peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 lime – juiced
  • Splash of Tabasco sauce (to taste)
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

For the salad:

  • ½ a small cabbage
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ a pink grapefruit
  • ¼ of a pomello
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • 2 passion fruit
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh coconut to garnish, (use desiccated if fresh is not available)


To make the marinade for the beef, mix all the ingredients together in an airtight container. Thoroughly coat the steaks in the mixture and then set aside overnight (or for at least 4 hours) to marinate in the fridge.

To prepare the salad, finely shred the cabbage using a large knife, and place this in a bowl. Halve the cucumber, scrape out the seeds, and cut into long strips. Place the cucumber in the bowl alongside the cabbage. Halve and peel the avocado, then slice into lengthways strips, and add to the bowl. Cut between pithy membranes of the grapefruit to remove segments of the flesh. Do the same with the pomello and add these also to the salad bowl, making sure that none of the individual chunks are so large as to be unpalatable.

Sprinkle the salad with a little salt and pepper, then drizzle over the olive oil and squeeze in the lime juice. Mix everything together, and do a quick taste test – adjust the levels of seasoning or acidity if necessary.

To cook the steaks, heat a griddle pan to high. When this is smoking, sear the beef by pressing down with a spatula so as to get some nice grill marks, then turn over and do the same on the other side. Depending on the thickness of your steak, as little as 1 minute per side may be sufficient, but cook to your taste. If you’d like it pink in the centre, one minute on a hot grill either side is long enough.

Once cooked, wrap the steaks in some aluminium foil and leave aside to rest briefly before carving into long strips. Resting the meat for a few minutes allows it to relax after the heat of the pan and more become juicy and tender.

To assemble, lay the dressed salad out on a large serving platter and top with the carved beef. Spoon the passion fruit pulp artfully over the salad, and particularly along the edges of the dish. Lastly, sprinkle the freshly grated coconut, and serve. (Fingers crossed there are no closet sweet/savoury phobes sitting at your table).