Recipe: Grilled Beef with Roast Chili Sauce

"If there is one thing that the Thais don't do well, it's beef" said Thompson, as he marinated a piece of Australian strip steak in fish sauce, readying it for the grill. Because you have access to better beef there than we do here, and because this recipe is tremendously good and very easy, I've chosen to pass it on. It makes for a refreshing summer barbecue dish.

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Photo by Jarrett Wrisley

For the beef:
    • 120 g beef rump or sirloin
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce

For the chili sauce:
    • 3 tablespoons lime juice
    • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (Megachef, if you can find it!)
    • pinch of white sugar
    • very large pinch to ½ teaspoon roasted chilli powder, to taste
    • 1 or 2 finely sliced red shallots
    • a large pinch each of shredded long leaf coriander (pak chii farang), chopped coriander, and spring onions
    • 1 teaspoon ground roasted rice (see instructions below)
    • white cabbage, mint leaves, and snake beans (for garnish)

Trim the beef but retain some fat. Briefly marinate in the fish sauce (10 mins). Char-grill the beef to rare and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining lime juice with the fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Stir in the chili powder. It should be pungently hot, sour and salty. Pour into a small serving bowl then add the shallots, the two types of coriander, the spring onion and roasted rice.

Slice the beef, always across the grain.

Serve with a wedge of cabbage, some mint and beans. And of course with some rice, sticky or regular.

Roasted chili powder (prik bon):

Roast a cup of dried bird's eye chilies in a wok or pan over a medium heat, stirring and tossing regularly to prevent scorching, until they have changed color and are beginning to toast. Cool then grind to a coarse or fine powder, as preferred, in a pestle and mortar or a clean coffee grinder. This keeps well in an airtight container.

Ground roasted rice (kao krua):

To make ground roasted rice, dry-fry white sticky rice over a low heat in a wok or pan, stirring regularly until golden and fragrant. The rice must smell nutty and cooked in the same way that pastry might smell when its removed from an oven. It should be a deep golden brown in color. (If it is insufficiently cooked, it is not only indigestible but unpalatable). Leave to cool then grind in a spice grinder to a medium-fine powder. This also keeps well.