Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thai-style Grilled Beef with Charred Tomato and Chilli Dipping Sauce

The inspiration for this dish came from the fabulous dinner I enjoyed at Sailors Thai a few nights ago. There were ten of us and we must have ordered about half of the entire menu. Everyone was ooh-ing and aah-ing over the myriad of dishes that were a fusion of contemporary cuisine with traditional Thai-style flavours, served in a fine dining setting. I loved every single dish we ordered, with the exception of the dessert platter which was quite a let-down considering that there are so many other Thai desserts I can think of that should have made the menu. Anyway, that was soon forgotten by everyone after a few glasses (and bottles) of dessert wine (we had the Botrytis Semillon which was wonderfully sweet and intense with a pleasant finish).

One of the entrees we enjoyed was the grilled tajima wagyu beef with charred tomato, chilli and fresh prawn sauce. Now, I'm not sure what "prawn" refers to but I'm guessing that perhaps it's referring to shrimp paste, but I may be wrong. Anyway, I was more interested in the "charred tomato" which gave the sauce a subtle smoky flavour. So, I decided to recreate this same dish (with considerable guesstimates and adaptations, using plain rump steak (MSA graded from Woolies) and no fancy wagyu of any sort here) and it turned out fantastic! The beef was tender, juicy and flavoursome, and when dipped into the charred tomato and chilli sauce and eaten with the mint leaves, tasted sensational. And it's incredibly quick and easy to prepare too, as you will see in the recipe below. Feel free to adjust the balance of hot, sweet, sour and salty according to your tastebuds and preference.

Thai-style Grilled Beef with Charred Tomato and Chilli Dipping Sauce


500g (1 lb) rump steak (trimmed of excess fat)
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1-2 roma tomatoes
Vietnamese mint leaves
Cucumber, sliced

1 tbsp chopped coriander stems and root
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 1/2 tbsp grated palm sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1-2 bird's eye chillies
1/2 eshallot, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tbsp lime juice (or to taste)
2 tbsp charred tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp Maggi seasoning (optional)
1 tbsp tamarind pulp concentrate (optional)


To make the charred tomato, cut the tomato in half crosswise. Drizzle the cut side with a little olive oil. Heat a small cast iron skillet or pan on high heat and place the tomatoes in it cut-side down. Cook for 3-5 minutes until charred. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool. Scoop out the flesh and chop roughly.

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the coriander, garlic, palm sugar and black pepper to a smooth paste. Add the chillies and pound briefly to release some of the juices. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and mix well. If necessary, adjust the quantities used to desired taste. Transfer to a small bowl.

Rub some olive oil over the beef, followed by salt and black pepper. Heat a grill pan on high heat, and add the beef, cooking it for 3-4 minutes each side, turning once only. The meat should be medium rare. Transfer the steak to a plate, cover with aluminium foil and set aside for 3-5 minutes to rest. Reserve the juices that may flow from the beef while resting and use some of that in the sauce if desired.

Slice the beef on the diagonal into thin strips. Arrange on a serving plate with mint leaves and cucumber, and serve with the charred tomato dipping sauce.


tinyskillet said...

This looks fantastic! What a nice job you did even if I did't taste the original from the restaurant, your vesion sounds great! So perfect for our Labor Day weekend. I would have this as a meal!

Mel said...

I'm drooling just looking at the beef slices. The sauce looks really yummy and delicious too!

Jackie B said...

Wow, I am drooling just looking at those pics and that chilli sauce is beckoning my name. Slurp!!!!

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious said...

I'm so glad you recreated this dish. It looks fabulous!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

The sauce you have made sound so tempting, i can imagine this sauce is perfect with the beef slices . Nice creation!

Quay Po Cooks said...

Wow, perfectly grilled beef. I would love to a slice of it.

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I'm VERY VERY impressed with your grilling skill Fern! The meat is PERFECTLY grilled! Often it's hard to see how's inside while cooking, but this is totally perfection. Sounds delicious!

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments! Hope you get to try it out one day :-)

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that I have in fact tried your recipe. I was doing my son's birthday party and needed a menu for the adults. When I came across your recipe, the ingredients sound so delicious and simple that I had to make it. I made your dipping sauce along with my other go-to dipping sauce for my grilled tri-tip. And I'm happy to let you know that your sauce was a hit over my other sauce. I have made this sauce twice more since. This sauce is bursting with flavors and addicting. Thank you so much for this recipe.

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

Hi! Thanks for trying out the recipe and I'm glad to hear it was such a hit with everyone. The charred tomato gives it a nice smoky flavour doesn't it? :)