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Spicy Thai Steak

This is a classic Thai dish named: Tiger’s Tear, Tiger Cry, Crying Tiger, Weeping Tiger…

The Big Qs: Why Tiger, why crying?

The Big A: No 1 knows.

We enjoy this delicious grilled steak with a dipping sauce that goes so well with it.

Crying Tiger is interpreted by Thai restaurants in the US as a grilled beef salad. I do not believe that this represents the classic version. Also, once you have eaten Thai food in Tailband, you will not enjoy it in a stateside Thai restaurant. So, make it at home!

For this recipe, I added some tomatoes to the dried chili dipping sauce as some chef’s do in Bangkok.

Notes from our chef

  • The smoky aroma achieved from grilling is what makes this classic version special, far superior to deep-fried or sautéed renditions of Crying Tiger.
  • Serving the steak with the dry chile dipping sauce (Jaew) on the side as opposed to dressing it like a salad retains the steak’s smoky aroma and flavors.
  • Using the piquant Jaew as a dipping sauce instead of a dressing also allows its clean, crisp flavor to shine.



  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) plain vegetable oil
  • 4 grass fed ribeye steaks, about 1 1/2-ins thick (about 12 ounces or 342g each)

Dry Chile Dipping Sauce aka Jaew:

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) fresh lime juice (about 6 to 10 limes)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Thai fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (8g) finely-chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons (11g) finely-chopped green onions
  •  1 1/2 tablespoons (12g) toasted rice powder (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) dried red pepper powder
  • 2 plum tomatoes (optional)


  1. Mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, and vegetable oil in a medium mixing bowl. Coat the steaks with the soy sauce mixture and let them marinate while you work on the dipping sauce.
  2. Combine all ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl and mix. If using, peel and deseed the tomatoes. Chop the pulp finely, and add it to prepared dried chili dipping sauce; set aside.
  3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 mins. Alternatively, set all the burners on a gas grill to high heat. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
  4. Grill the steaks, turning frequently, until desired doneness is reached (medium-rare is recommended—steaks should register 125°F on an instant read thermometer when removed from grill). Remove from grill and let rest for 5 mins.
  5. Cut the steaks into 1/4-in slices and serve with the dipping sauce. Warm sticky rice on the side is highly recommended.

Pair with Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley is a steak’s best friend!

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