Crying Tiger Beef

BBQ season is just around the corner, and do I ever have the perfect recipe for you! This Crying Tiger Beef recipe is my take on a traditional Thai dish that is made with delicious striploin steak, Thai birds eye chilis, and a sweet and tangy jaew sauce.

This recipe was created in collaboration with Red Barn Markets. Check out their website for local Vancouver Island products and more recipes!

Why is it called Crying Tiger Beef?

The recipe name for this dish is largely a mystery. Some say that the original recipe (which came from northeastern Thailand) was made with cuts of beef that were so tough that it was difficult for tigers to even chew and eat it, making them cry. Others say that the addition of hot Thai Birds Eye chili peppers make the recipe so spicy that it makes you cry from the sheer amount of chili spice. No matter what the actual name origins are, this recipe is absolutely delicious and is a must make this summer!

Marinating for Extra Flavour

The beef marinade adds a salty and sweet flavour to the steak, and when combined with the char and flavour of the grill, it’s a flavour combination that can’t be beat! For the marinade, I combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, water, avocado oil and ground black pepper together into a bowl. This sweet and salty base adds incredible authentic Thai flavours to the beef which make it so delicious!

For this recipe, I used striploin steaks as they have more meat and less fat. I always enjoy a bit of fat on my steaks to provide the meat with extra flavour, but for this recipe I don’t want too much– so the striploin cut is perfect. If you do enjoy a fattier cut, ribeye would be an excellent choice! If you would like a leaner cut, a flank/skirt steak would also be excellent– just make sure to slice it against the grain when serving.

What is Jaew Sauce?

The major component that makes this recipe is the traditional Jaew sauce. Toasted and crushed jasmine rice is used as a substitute to glutinous rice (which is traditionally used) to help thicken and add flavour to the Jaew sauce. I decided to subsitute with everyday jasmine rice since it’s more readily available and I already had it in my pantry. I use a traditional mortar and pestle to crush the rice into a powder, and while it’s a bit of a muscle workout, it’s totally worth it!

The addition of lime juice adds a great acidity to the steak and cuts through the fattiness so well. Fish sauce adds a nice salty and funky flavour and Thai Birds Eye chilis add a good amount of heat to the Jaew sauce. Fresh chopped cilantro and a bit of sugar help to add additional freshness and to bring the entire sauce together.

While the steak and marinade are delicious on their own, the Jaew sauce really makes this recipe authentic and have tons of Thai flavour! You can’t make this recipe without it!

How to Serve Crying Tiger Beef

Once the steak has been grilled, I like to let it rest for 5-10 minutes to let the juices redistribute within the meat. While the meat is resting, I like to tear off big leaves of lettuce and slice up some fresh cucumber to serve alongside. These veggies are great at cooling down the heat of the dish if you find it to be too spicy.

Once the steak has rested and been sliced, I top it with a few tablespoons of Jaew sauce and serve the rest on the side for dipping. And don’t forget the lime wedges for extra flavour and beauty!

I hope that you enjoy this spicy and delicious Crying Tiger Beef recipe! If you make this recipe, please let me know how you enjoyed it in the comments section below!

Get the Recipe!

Crying Tiger Beef

This Crying Tiger Beef recipe is my take on a traditional Thai dish that is made with delicious striploin steak, Thai birds eye chilis, and a sweet and tangy jaew sauce.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4


For the Steak:

  • 2 Red Barn Market’s Striploin steaks 2 centimeters thick
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Jaew Sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons jasmine rice
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili flakes
  • 1 Thai bird eye chili finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar


  • Add the oyster sauce, avocado oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and black pepper to a medium sized bowl. Use a whisk to mix everything to combine. Add the steaks to the bowl and coat them in the sauce. Set aside at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to marinade.
  • While the steaks are marinating, make the Jaew sauce. Add the rice to a small pan over medium-high heat. Toast the rice for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the rice is light brown on all sides. Once toasted, add the rice to a mortar and grind it into a fine powder using the pestle. You can also do this in a food processor as well.
  • Add the ground rice into a small bowl, followed by the lime juice, fish sauce, cilantro, chili flakes, Thai birds eye chili, and sugar. Mix everything to combine and set aside.
  • To cook the steaks, heat a grill to 400 degrees F. Add the steaks to the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes per side (for medium temperature). Once cooked, remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice the steak into strips and top with the Jaew sauce. Serve with sliced cucumber, lettuce, and steamed rice for a full meal. Enjoy!


• You can also cook the steak in a frying pan. To do this, preheat a pan over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon of avocado oil. Fry the steaks for 5-6 minutes per side (for medium temperature). Once cooked, let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
• If you would like the steak cooked rare, cook for 4 minutes per side and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
• You can marinade the steaks overnight in the refrigerator for a more flavourful steak. Ensure that you remove the steaks from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to cooking so that the steak cooks evenly.
Keyword bbq recipes, beef recipes, crying tiger beef, grilling, steak, steak recipes, striploin, summer recipes
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