Why the name? I couldn't find a clear answer, there are various suggestions for the name's origins- one is that the sauce is so hot it made the tiger cry, another is that it used to be made with eat so tough even a tiger couldn't chew it- hence the tears. It certainly doesn't seem to be made with tough meat now- most recipes suggest sirloin or rib eye.
As I said, it is a very simple recipe. The one bit that might seem a bit odd is making the toasted ground rice to go in the dipping sauce, but it isn't hard- just toast some uncooked jasmine rice in a dry frying pan over a low heat until golden, then grind to a powder. It keeps, so you could make enough for several batches of jaew. Which is certainly now a bad idea, jaew is really good with prawns and chicken too.
The recipe I used came from Serious Eats. I didn't cook this over coals, as the recipe suggested, I used my trusty cast-iron griddle pan.
You can find the recipe on the link above, but the sauce and steak recipe are on separate pages, which makes it a bit tricky to read- so I have copied the two parts of the recipe here, for ease.
For the steak:
- 4 rib eye or New York strip steaks, about 1 1/2-inches thick (about 12 ounces each)
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon plain vegetable oil
For the sauce (jaew)
- 1/2 cup fresh juice from 6 to 10 limes
- 1/2 cup Thai fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely-chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons finely-chopped green onions
- Raw jasmine rice, to make 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted rice powder (recipe below) I used about half a cup raw rice, which made more than needed-but it keeps.
- 1 tablespoon dried red pepper powder- I ground up some dried birds eye chillies to make this.
- 2 plum tomatoes
To make the toasted rice powder, toast the raw rice in a dry frying pan over a low heat until the rice is golden. It's best to go slowly with this, so it cooks evenly and doesn't burn. Grind in a pestle and mortar to a powder.
Peel, deseed and finely chop the tomatoes, and put in a bowl. Mix with the rest of the jaew ingredient.
Grill the steaks, until desired doneness is reached. Remove from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes.