Thai Marinated Grilled Steak with "Jeaw" Dipping Sauce (Crying Tiger)
Even though this is a classic Thai steak marinade, it's for a neutral enough flavour that it will work with any meal, Thai or not. Loaded with flavours, endlessly customizable, it's the only marinade recipe you need. The dipping sauce is also a classic that no Thai person would go without!
To make the marinade, pound the black pepper in a mortar and pestle into a powder, then add the garlic and pound into a fine paste. Add all remaining marinade ingredients and stir to mix well.
½ tsp black peppercorns, 2 cloves garlic, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 ½ Tbsp oyster sauce, 2 tsp sugar, 1 Tbsp lime juice, 2 Tbsp neutral oil
Place the steaks into a dish just big enough to hold them in one layer, or put them in a freezer bag. Add the marinade and move the steaks around to ensure they're thoroughly coated.
1.5 lb steaks
Marinate the steaks for a minimum of 3 hours and up to overnight. Bring the steaks out 1 hour before grilling so they will not be too cold and will cook more evenly.Note: Marinated steaks, especially ones with sugar like this, are better suited for the grill. Pan searing is fine but the marinade will more easily burn with direct contact to the hot oil. So without a grill, I would recommend doing a quick sear on the pan just to get it nice and browned, then finishing it off on a rack in the oven.
Grill the steaks to your preferred doneness. I like grilling them on high heat with the lid open to ensure they have nice grill marks. See the video above for more grilling tips.
For the Nam Jim Jeaw dipping sauce
In a small bowl, combine the tamarind, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar and stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Stir in the shallots and the chili flakes and set aside while you make the toasted rice powder; don't worry about any undissolved sugar chunks.
2 Tbsp tamarind paste, 1 Tbsp fish sauce, 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1 Tbsp palm sugar, 2 Tbsp minced shallots or chopped green onion, ½ teaspoon roasted chili flakes
Make the toasted rice powder: In a dry skillet, add the rice and toast it over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the grains are deep brown (see video for the colour you're going for). Pour onto a plate to cool, then grind in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder into a mostly-fine powder.
1 Tbsp uncooked jasmine or sticky rice
Close to serving time, stir the sauce; the sugar should now be completely dissolved, and if there are a few stubborn chunks, they can be easily smushed with the back of a spoon. Stir in the toasted rice powder and cilantro or mint.
3 sprigs cilantro or mint
Any cut of steaks you like for the grill will work. Keep in mind that for marinated steaks, you want to stick with something thin. I'm using flatiron in the video, but flank, skirt and hanger steaks are examples of great cuts for the grill.
Sticky rice is a classic accompaniment to Thai steaks, but these would go with any sides, Thai or not.