“CRYING TIGER” BEEF STEAK WITH THAI DIPPING SAUCE
Thai Name: เสือร้องให้
Thai Name: Seua Rong High where Seua is “tiger” and Rong High is “crying”
This dish is a simple way to use a spicy, salty and crunchy dipping sauce to make your steak Thai style. We are going to grill a steak and prepare a dipping sauce that combines fish sauce for a salty flavor, lime juice to make the sauce tangy, chillie flakes for a spicy note, some fresh coriander / cilantro and spring onion plus toasted and powdered rice to give it a crunchy texture.
HOW THIS DISHES GETS ITS UNUSUAL NAME
This grilled beef dish is often called “seua rong high” or “crying tiger”. According to legend, it is named after the sound of the fat dripping from the steak onto the coals of the grill that sounds like a tiger’s cry. Alternatively, some food historians say the tiger in the forest outside a village is crying because he smells meat cooking and wants to be invited to dinner. No matter what the origins of the name, this dish will have your quests crying for more. I learned this dish in Northeastern Thailand, where eaters like their dipping sauces spicy hot.
Metric System Users: Some Thai recipes use small quantities of ingredients that are difficult to measure if the cook doesn’t have an accurate measuring scale in the kitchen. So, we use measuring spoons to approximate the quantity of ingredients in the recipe. Remember that 1 Imperial teaspoon is the same as the amount in a 5 ml measuring spoon and 1 Imperial tablespoon is the same amount in a 15 ml measuring spoon. Thai cooking should be a balance between the spicy, salty, sweet and sour flavors in the ingredients. This type of volume measuring (versus weight in grams or ounces) gives the cook in a home kitchen enough accuracy in measuring the ingredients. Most cooks will change these traditional recipes to suit their own taste as they experiment and create Thai food at home.
Beef steak, 1 pound or 450 grams
Let the meat reach room temperature before you grill it – this will help the steak cook evenly.
There is no reason to season the steak with salt or pepper – the seasoning will come from the sauce we make.
Grill the steak in a hot pan with a little cooking oil to keep it from sticking to the pan, or over hot coals, to your desired level of doneness – I prefer it rare to medium rare so the steak is juicy. After grilling, let the steak rest for five minutes without cutting into the steak so the juices remain inside the meat – if you slice the steak just after cooking, the juices will run out of the steak and it will be too dry.
The dipping sauce combines lime juice and fish sauce, fresh herbs and a toasted and ground rice powder to make a salty, tangy and crunchy topping. You can think of the toasted rice topping as like a bread crouton used in Western salads to make the salad crunchy.
THERE IS NO “ONE SIZE FITS ALL” IN THAI COOKING
You may adjust the seasonings in the sauce to suit your own palate – adding more lime juice to make it tangier, adding more or less chillie powder according to your enthusiasm for spice or by adding a little white cane sugar to temper the heat from the chillies. The method and technique in this recipe will produce the correct result – then you can customize the dish to suit your own palate.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml equivalent measure of Thai sticky / glutinous rice (as a substitute you could use the Italian riso that is used in making risotto – try Italian arborio or carnaroli rice). These types of rice have a high starch content and so when toasted give lots of flavor and aroma. You can also use other types of rice in a pinch.
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml measuring spoon Thai chillie powder (not to be substituted with mild chillie pepper found in Western supermarkets)
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml measuring spoon coriander / cilantro leaf
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml measuring spoon chopped spring onion (scallion/green onion)
- 3 tablespoons / 45 ml fish sauce
- 5 tablespoons / 60 ml lime juice
SIDE VEGETABLES FOR THE PLATE
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch / 0.75 cm slices
Step 1: Toasting the raw rice grains requires no oil in the pan. Place a wok or frying pan over medium heat and add the dry rice. Stir in the pan until the rice grains are toasted to a light brown color. Remove from the heat and place the toasted rice grains in a mortar. Grind the toasted rice grains until they are a coarse grind – I prefer the rice to have a crunchy texture, so do not grind into a fine powder.
Step 2: In a serving bowl, mix the fish sauce, lime juice, spring onion, coriander / cilantro and chillie powder together and stir. Sprinkle the toasted and ground rice on top of the sauce.
Step 3: Slice the steak into small strips (about 2 inches / 5 cm long and 1/2 inch / 1.5 cm wide) and place on the side of a plate in an artful pattern as seen in the photo above.
Step 4: Array the cucumber slices on the other side of the plate and place the small bowl of sauce in the middle of the plate.
Eat your creation by dipping the beef slices into the sauce and eat the cucumber slices to cool your mouth.
This dish is customarily served with steamed Thai sticky rice or you can serve Thai jasmine rice on the side.