Asian Recipes/ Condiments and Sauces/ Entrees / Appetisers/ Recipes

Simple Crying Tiger Steak with Nam Jim Jaew Dipping Sauce

02/06/2021

Learn to cook incredible Thai beef in less than 20 minutes! Impress your guests (and yourself!) with juicy, tender Crying Tiger Steak and spicy Thai dipping sauce (Nam Jim Jaew).

Nam jim jaew and lettuce alongside crying tiger steak.

Why We Love This

We love a recipe that turns cooking steak into an easy and achievable, tender meal!

This simple Thai beef is the perfect entree or appetiser when entertaining. It looks great on the table, and tastes sensational. Make it extra fancy by serving in lettuce cups or pre-dipped on spoons.

Sliced crying tiger beef on a wooden board with coriander and dipping sauce.

What is Crying Tiger? 

Crying Tiger or Weeping Tiger Beef (Suea Rong Hai / เสือร้องไห้) is thinly sliced steak cooked medium or rare, and often served alongside a bowl of spicy and sour chilli dipping sauce (Nam Jim Jaew).

Originating in Northeastern Thailand, the Isaan region, it’s popular to have as a beer snack – a tradition we can totally get behind!

What You’ll Need

Ingredients laid out to make Thai Crying Tiger steak.
Ingredients for Crying Tiger Steaks
  • Steaks – We use boneless porterhouse sirloin steaks, which have a nice amount of fat, but still very lean and super tender. You can also use ribeye or flank.
  • Soy Sauce – Regular soy sauce or tamari will work a treat. If you can get your hands on it, use the more traditional Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce as a sub.
  • Palm Sugar – Grate a palm sugar block, or sub with brown sugar or coconut sugar.
  • Oil – Vegetable oils work well here, anything with a high smoke point for cooking!
Ingredients laid out to make nam jim jaew.
Ingredients for Nam Jim Jaew Dipping Sauce
  • Crushed Chilli Powder – Thai chilli powder uses whole crushed chilli, and packs a punch with both heat and flavour. Sub with regular chilli powder, cayenne pepper or Korean hot pepper powder.
  • Toasted Rice Powder – A classic Thai ingredient, Toasted rice powder is super easy to make at home or buy online.

How to make Thai Steak (Crying Tiger):

For the Crying Tiger Steak:

  1. In a large plate or wide bowl add the soy sauceoyster sauce1 tbsp of vegetable oilgarlic and palm sugar. Mix until combined. Place the steaks in the marinade and coat well on both sides. Use a fork to pierce over each side, to help the marinade soak in further. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes (or overnight if marinating in advance).
  2. Heat a cast iron pan (or cook over charcoal if you can) on high heat and coat with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Once hot, add in your marinated steaks and cook each side for 3-4 minutes for medium or 2-3 minutes for medium-rare. Seal the edges for 10-20 seconds each. You can flip the steaks more than once, whatever suits your style of cooking. Transfer steaks onto a large plate. Cover with aluminium foil and rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Once rested, use a large, sharp knife to slice into thin strips. Serve with your fresh Nam Jim Jaew dipping sauce and enjoy!

For the Nam Jim Jaew Dipping Sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, add in the palm sugar, lime juicefish saucetoasted rice powder and crushed chilli powder. Mix until well combined.
  2. Next pop in the chopped shallot and coriander/cilantro, stirring through slightly before topping up with water.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Want Tender Slices? – Be sure to cut against the grain.
  • Serve Alongside – Sticky rice, lettuce, cabbage, beans or cucumber.
  • Marinate Overnight – For extra flavour and tenderness.

FAQs

Why is it called Crying Tiger?

There are many legends behind the name “Crying Tiger”. Some of the most popular reasons are:
– The nam jim jeaw dipping sauce is so hot, it will make a tiger cry.
– The marbling on the steaks used in Thailand are similar to tiger stripes, and when cooked, the fat drips like tears.
– A tiger stole a villager’s cow to eat, leaving the brisket til last. When the tiger was full, it started to eat the brisket and realised it was the best part. Frustrated that it could eat no more, it made the tiger cry.
Whichever story you choose to believe, the dish will still be just as delicious!

What is the best steak cut to use for Crying Tiger?

We recommend porterhouse / sirloin or ribeye for Crying Tiger, but you can also use flank if you prefer.
For the best texture, go for high quality cuts and avoid budget steaks. Thicker pieces will give you those lovely slices, so aim for at least an inch thick.

What other dishes should I serve with Crying Tiger and Nam Jim Jaew?

Make it into a main by serving it up alongside a bowl of chicken larb, fried spring rolls and pandan chicken. Or have the crying tiger as an entrée before tucking in to big bowls of choo chee chicken curry!

What else can I use Nam Jim Jaew sauce for?

It goes amazingly well with all kinds of grilled meats, but would be equally good with seafood or crispy fried tofu too. Use it as a salad dressing or as a dipping sauce for fresh veggies for a tasty and healthy snack.

Variations

  • Skip the Marinade – Rub in olive oil and salt instead to save on marinating time.
  • Cook over Charcoal – For a more authentic taste, cook the steak straight over charcoal and infuse them with a smoky flavour alongside the marinade.
  • Dipping Sauce – If you’re pressed for time or can’t get fresh coriander or shallots, try it with Vietnamese nuoc mam cham (homemade or bottled). Or for a completely different flavour, try it with go for a sweet and savoury Japanese BBQ sauce (such as okonomiyaki sauce or takoyaki sauce).
  • Amp Up the Heat – Add more or less chilli flakes to suit your taste. Or add finely sliced bird’s eye chillies (small Thai red chillies) for an extra spicy kick!
  • Make it into a Salad – Add lettuce leaves, chopped tomato and extra coriander or mint, then spoon the dipping sauce over the top. Toss and serve!
Fresh nam jim jaew in a bowl with thinly sliced Crying Tiger beef.

Take your Thai one step further with these star dishes:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Thinly sliced steak next to a bowl of nam jim jaew and lettuce.

Simple Crying Tiger Steak with Nam Jim Jaew Dipping Sauce

Learn to cook incredible Thai beef in less than 20 minutes! Impress your guests (and yourself!) with juicy, tender Crying Tiger Steak and spicy Thai dipping sauce (Nam Jim Jaew).
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 4 side servings
Calories: 304kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $20-30

Ingredients

For the Crying Tiger Steak:

For the Nam Jim Jaew Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp palm sugar sub brown sugar or raw sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp crushed chilli flakes sub cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp toasted rice powder
  • 1 shallot small, chopped
  • 4 tbsp coriander / cilantro roughly chopped, using leaves, stems and roots
  • 2-4 tbsp water or extra lime juice or fish sauce

Instructions

For the Crying Tiger Steak:

  • In a large plate or wide bowl add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, garlic and palm sugar. Mix until combined.
  • Place the steaks in the marinade and coat well on both sides. Use a fork to pierce over each side, to help the marinade soak in further. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes (or overnight if marinating in advance).
  • Heat a cast iron pan (or cook over charcoal if you can) on high heat and coat with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Once hot, add in your marinated steaks and cook each side for 3-4 minutes for medium or 2-3 minutes for medium-rare. Seal the edges for 10-20 seconds each. You can flip the steaks more than once, whatever suits your style of cooking.
  • Transfer steaks onto a large plate. Cover with aluminium foil and rest for 10 minutes.
  • Once rested, use a large, sharp knife to slice into thin strips. Serve with your fresh Nam Jim Jaew dipping sauce and enjoy!

For the Nam Jim Jaew Dipping Sauce:

  • In a small bowl, add in the palm sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, toasted rice powder and crushed chilli powder. Mix until well combined.
  • Next pop in the chopped shallot and coriander/cilantro, stirring through slightly before topping up with water.

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Skip the Marinade – Rub in olive oil and salt instead to save on marinating time.
  • Cook over Charcoal – For a more authentic taste, cook the steak straight over charcoal and infuse them with a smoky flavour alongside the marinade.
  • Dipping Sauce – If you’re pressed for time or can’t get fresh coriander or shallots, try it with Vietnamese nuoc mam cham (homemade or bottled). Or for a completely different flavour, try it with go for a sweet and savoury Japanese BBQ sauce (such as okonomiyaki sauce or takoyaki sauce).
  • Amp Up the Heat – Add more or less chilli flakes to suit your taste. Or add finely sliced bird’s eye chillies (small Thai red chillies) for an extra spicy kick!
  • Make it into a Salad – Add lettuce leaves, chopped tomato and extra coriander or mint, then spoon the dipping sauce over the top. Toss and serve!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Simple Crying Tiger Steak with Nam Jim Jaew Dipping Sauce
Amount per Serving
Calories
304
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
14
g
22
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Cholesterol
 
92
mg
31
%
Sodium
 
1460
mg
63
%
Potassium
 
635
mg
18
%
Carbohydrates
 
9
g
3
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Protein
 
35
g
70
%
Vitamin A
 
625
IU
13
%
Vitamin C
 
3
mg
4
%
Calcium
 
61
mg
6
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Simple Crying Tiger Steak with Nam Jim Jaew Dipping Sauce

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