Crying Tiger – Frozen Dragon

It seems the poor Thai have again fallen victim to my cultural depredations. A classic Thai dish with the most dubious name. Legend has it that as the meat hits the hot grill, oil from the meat drips down, resembling tears. AKA the Tiger was crying, as per the rest of the post name; well, it is 22 degrees here, and by the time I finished grilling, the dragon was truly frozen. Besides, it’s too good of a play on a movie name to pass up.

It’s cold, and the Texas boy in me says, “It’s too cold.”, but the Texas boy also says, “Steak on the grill! in the snow? Oh, Hell, Yes!”

So we have established that is cold and probably too cold for any sane person to consider grilling, but while this dish can be made in a grill pan or maybe deep fried, but it is the smoky aroma from the grilling that makes this dish.

I’ll serve the sauce as a dipping sauce so as not to smother the aroma of the meat, and as a cooling component, I’ll side with some crisp lettuce. One can fashion a form of wrap from this and dip it into the sauce.

Crying Tiger is sometimes reinterpreted by Thai restaurants stateside as a grilled beef salad. The smoky grill aroma which makes this dish special is, in my opinion, lost when the dish is served as a salad. But that’s still far better than when some restaurants deep-fry or sauté the beef instead of grilling it.

Crying Tiger

The aroma of grilled steak, with the smoky kick of the dipping sauce, makes the effort worthwhile
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Asian
Servings 2
Calories 137 kcal


Steak and Marinate

  • 2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil Toasted is very nice
  • 2 ea Steaks Rib eye ~ 12oz

Jaew (Dipping Sauce)

  • 1/2 cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 cup Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro Fresh, chopped ultra fine
  • 1 tbsp Toasted Rice Powder See Notes
  • 1 tbsp Red Pepper Powder


  • Bring your steaks to room temp
  • Mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil in a medium mixing bowl. 
  • Coat the steaks with the soy sauce mixture and let them marinate for at least 15 minutes. Preheat your grill.
  • Combine all ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl and mix.
  • Grill the steaks, frequently turning until the desired doneness is reached (medium-rare is recommended)
  • Steaks should register 125°F on an instant-read thermometer when removed from the grill. Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. 
  • Cut the steaks into 1/4-inch slices and serve with the dipping sauce. 


I really should do a post on Asian kitchen staples.  
A short one for toasted rice powder.
  • 2/3 cup of Sticky Rice or Jasmine if sweet rice is not available.
  • 1 Lime leaf  (Makrut)  OPTIONAL.
  1. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium heat. As the pan is heating, add rice and cook, stirring and tossing constantly, until the rice becomes dark golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. The rice will smoke quite a bit as it cooks and smells fragrant, almost burned. As long as none of the grains show signs of burning / turning black in spots
  3. Take the wok/skillet off the heat and continue stirring until the pan cools down a bit.
  4. Let the rice sit in the pan until completely cool.
  5. Transfer the rice and lime leaf to a coffee/spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to grind until it forms a smooth, even powder with some texture. (The grains within the powder should be slightly uneven, giving the powder a perfect texture for laab.)
  6. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator 


Calories: 137kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 5gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 5807mgPotassium: 274mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1074IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Sauce, Steak
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

  Filed under: Asian, Grilled, Sauce, Thai

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