• Rating ****

4 servings

This recipe is called Crying Tiger because the chiles should be hot enough to make one howl like a tiger, but balanced with a blend of sweet-salty flavors to lessen the fire. On the other hand, the literal translation is "as the tiger weeps," and it has been suggested that the fat from the beef "weeps" into the red-hot coals of the grill. The reference is probably related to the heat of the chiles, which will indeed make you sweat and tear. The dipping sauce is a kind of nam prik, of which there are many varieties that can also be used for grilled Thai sausage, grilled pork, or grilled chicken. This dish is nice accompanied by steamed jasmine rice.


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Thai fish sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 pound beef rib eye or beef round (London broil), in one piece
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup dried bird’s eye chiles or dried piquín chiles or crumbled dried red de arbol chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1 cube (1 inch) fresh galangal or ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice


In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the fish sauce, and the sugar. Mix until the sugar dissolves. Place the steak in the bowl, turn several times, and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature, turning once.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the garlic heads in half so the inside of the cloves are exposed and drizzle with vegetable oil, then wrap in aluminum foil and roast until the insides are soft, 30 minutes. Cool, then squeeze the soft garlic mush into a small bowl and set aside.

Prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the dipping sauce. In a small cast iron skillet, dry roast the chiles over high heat with a little salt until the chiles begin to blacken, 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the skillet. Remove and cool and add to the bowl with the garlic. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a food processor along with the shallot, coriander leaves and galangal and puree into a paste. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce and the lime juice and continue to puree, scraping down the sides when necessary, about 3 minutes of continuous processing. Transfer to a dipping bowl.

Place the steak on the grill and cook until the center is medium rare, 8 to 10 minutes, 4 to 5 inches directly above a very hot fire, turning several times. If you are using the rib eye, which is marbled with more fat, it will flare up more than the London broil and char the steak a bit, which is preferred for this dish. Remove the steak from the grill and transfer to a carving or serving platter and let rest 10 minutes. Slice crosswise into thin slices and serve with the dipping sauce.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harvard Common Press. All rights reserved.

RecID 8620

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