Thai beef jerky
Salted and deep-fried beef with tamarind sauce
A great appetizer for any Thai dinner!! An absolutely extraordinary, savory and crisp meat dish with a sweet, sour and hot sauce.
This is mouthwatering and a nice show off dish ; )
What I love about Thai cooking?
It’s fast, light, fresh, healthy and extremely yummy!! I eat Thai food at least once a week, mostly simple stir-fries. My personal Thai cooking experience started back in 2005 on my first trip to Thailand. Totally flattened by the variety of delicious food, I attended a basic Thai cooking class for a few days. -That totally got me (and my wife) hooked on.
However… beef jerky. Getting into Thai cooking always means getting in touch with David Thompson. I think he wrote some of the greatest books about original Thai cuisine out there. Such as:
For me these books are must-haves!!
This recipe is a variation from the beautiful book `Thai Street Food`. I loved the idea of drying and then deep-frying meat! I couldn’t bring myself to bluntly copy the complete recipe. So I took the meat-idea and came up with my own sauce. This sauce can be very hot depending on the kind of chilies you use. I like it hot but not too hot, so I choose large Italian chilies for this recipe. The best way to control the pungency is to make your own dried chilies. I just lay some pepperonis out in the sun and it will dry nicely! The original recipe calls for large chilies as well as bird’s eye chilies – too much for my mollycoddled German tongue..
If you want the original recipe – please buy the book!
Sunny summer days are ideal to make this dish. I cut and quickly marinade the beef and take it to a sunny place, on a tray, wrapped with thin cheesecloth (to protect it from insects). Slowly drying in the sun to a beautiful color. A few hours are sufficient! The results from this method will be the best.
If you have no sunny place to put a tray, or just never have hot sunny days, fortunately, there are other methods as well!
Thompson suggests letting the meat dry overnight on a rack in the oven with just the oven lamp on. Honestly, I’ve never tried this. I always cheat with some temperature, like about 50°C / 122°F and fan on for about 3 hours. The results are the same, regarding the taste. And the deep fried end result won’t even differ much in the look.
Serve the beef with something fresh like cilantro leaves and cucumber to cool your tongue.
I love to eat this wrapped up in salad with some rice, or over rice, topped with cucumber, fresh cilantro and tamarind-sauce.
This is salted and deep-fried beef with tamarind sauce – have fun!!
- 1kg beef rump or sirloin
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tpsp light soy sauce
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of ground white pepper
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
- Oil for deep-frying
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp good quality fish sauce
- 3 tbsp tamarind paste
- 2 coriander roots
- 2 cm ginger, finely sliced
- 8 large, mild red chilies
- 2 large, fresh red chili
- 2 Asian red shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ tsp ground star anise
- pinch of salt
- pinch of roasted chili powder or smoked paprika-powder (optional)
Cut the beef in about 5mm (1/4 in) thick slices. Marinate the meat with all the ingredients except the oil for about 30 min. Spread on a large baking tray, cover with a thin cheesecloth and let it dry in the sun for about ½ day.
(Optional: Dry in the oven as described in the text above).
Heat the oil to about 180°C / 356°F. Deep-fry the meat over medium heat for about 4 min until nicely browned and crisp.
Drain on kitchen paper and let it cool a little before serving.
Serve with the sauce, steamed rice, coriander leaves and cucumber, or wrap in salad leaves together with rice.
Start with the dried chilies. Cut open with a knife and scrape out all the seeds. Soak chilies in water for about 15 min. or until soft. Squeeze the chilies with your hand to drain as much water as possible.
Heat a heavy based pan and sear the dried chilies, whole fresh chilies (remove the seeds when cooked), garlic cloves (skin on), shallots (skin on) and ginger. The chilies should be slightly charred; garlic and shallots should be soft. The ginger should be just a little bit browned on the edges. You can do this in batches as the cooking time varies greatly! (Shallots will take the longest). Put aside to let it cool.
Meanwhile bring vinegar, water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and reduce to 1/3. Take the syrup of from the heat and whisk in the tamarind paste, and fish sauce.
Roughly chop dried chilies, fresh chilies, ginger, garlic and shallots. In a blender, blitz these together with the syrup and star anise to a paste. Add salt and roasted chili powder (or smoked paprika, if you prefer it less hot) to taste.
Add a little bit of water to reach your desired consistency.