Kind of weird that in the land of smile, one of the most popular dishes is called crying tiger beef or seua rong haï. A legend says that this Thai dish is so good that it would make a tiger cry. Strips of beef would be compared to the tears of the tiger. But this is only a legend.
I love Thai food and I do not take you in uncharted territory today. I love this cuisine where all the refinement lies in flavors ranging from opposite directions in a single dish.
Crying tiger beef is one of those dishes that harmoniously combines both sour, bitter, sweet and sour as well as spicy. Palm sugar is used to soften this dish. Thai people highly appreciate spicy food and use more chili than black pepper. For this recipe, I used prik chee fah, which although considered the sweetest of Thai chilies, could numb the palate of a Westerner in an instant.
When Thais cook the crying tiger beef recipe, they use sirloin. This part of the animal is not kosher, and I had no idea what I could substitute it with, so I followed the recommendations from my butcher and I have no regrets: a piece of lean scoter completely denervated, tied, and then sliced into steaks. That’s all the advice I can share with you for a meat perfectly tender and very juicy.
Grilled rice sprinkled on the beef before serving, just adds a note of toasted cereal that is greatly appreciated. Four options are available to you to accompany the meat: a salad, steamed or sautéed vegetables, Thai steamed rice, and finally noodles. I chose the salad, as the combination of hot and cold is very pleasant to my taste.
This is the second time that Mike and I traveled to Asia since the beginning of the 196 flavors adventure. The Asian store that I have visited for many years has a number of loyal employees that I have become familiar with over time. What a surprise today when one of them called me “the Internet lady”. To this, I answered: “No, from 196 flavors!”
- 4 pieces scoter (or sirloin)
- 3 teaspoons honey
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- Black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
- Juice of a lime
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 prik chee fah pepper
- 1 (½-inch) piece fresh ginger , grated
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- A few Thai basil leaves
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 Thai scallion , chopped
- 1 cup Thai rice
For the marinade, mix the soy sauce and honey.
Marinate the beef for 2 hours in the sauce at room temperature. Cover the dish with plastic wrap.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:
Squeeze the lime. Press the garlic, cut the pepper into thin slices.
Mix water, sugar, and lemon juice. Add nuoc mam, soy sauce and tamarind paste.
Chop the garlic, chili, basil, cilantro and lemongrass. Grate the fresh ginger. Mix all the sauce and let stand for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.
In a non-stick pan, dry roast the rice over medium heat. Stir constantly so it does not burn.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Mix the rice in a food processor to obtain a very fine powder.
Pan-roast the beef a few minutes per side. Ideally, the meat should be just seared. Cut into strips. Lay on a bed of salad.
I used a mixture of iceberg lettuce and bean sprouts. Pour the sauce on top of the beef and sprinkle with toasted rice.