RECIPES / Grilled beef with roast chili sauce

Grilled beef with roast chili sauce

Grilled beef with roast chili sauce (Neua yang nahm jim kao krua)

Serves 4 if part of a meal, but alone is sufficient for 1

Grilled beef is a favourite dish in the north east of Thailand. There it is cooked over charcoal so it becomes irresistibly smoky. It is usually served rare – although of course you can cook it to your preference – with a damned spicy roast chili sauce thicken with a little toasted rice. A plate of crunchy raw vegetables and a bowl of steamed always accompanies the beef to provide contrast and relief from the pungent sauce.

Mostly the rice used is sticky rice, a nutty glutinous rice popular in the north of Thailand. But in Bangkok, steamed jasmine rice is served. The choice is yours.

And while you can easily purchase ground roasted rice and chili powder in Asian shops, I really think it is better to make your own, it is quick and simple and tastes so much better.


  • 120 g beef rump or sirloin
  • 2–3 tablespoons Megachef fish sauce
  • Some of the following vegetables

  • A small wedge white cabbage – peel off the coarse outer leaves
  • Handful of raw snake beans, top and tailed
  • A few springs of mint
  • Handful of raw snake beans, top and tailed
  • A few slices of cucumber
  • Steamed rice, sticky or jasmine, to serve

Roast chili sauce

  • 2-3 tablespoons lime juice – to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Pinch of white sugar
  • Very large pinch–½ teaspoon roasted chili powder (see below), according to taste, boldness and mood
  • 2 red shallots, sliced
  • Large pinch of chopped coriander
  • Large pinch of chopped spring onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground roasted rice (see below)


Trim the beef but retain some of the fat, it helps to keep it moist during the grilling. Briefly marinate the meat for about 5 minutes in the fish sauce.

Preheat a barbecue or chargrill pan, then grill the beef for a minute or two on each side – it should be rare – but cook it to your preferred degree. Remove and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.

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

After the meat has rested, slice the beef across the grain. I like to leave a little of the fat on – it’s really very tasty. Serve accompanied by a plate of vegetables. And of course with rice, sticky or regular, and the bowl of the roast chili sauce on the side.

Roasted chili powder

Roast a good handful 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 colour and are beginning to toast. Cool then grind to a coarse or fine powder, as preferred, using a pestle and mortar or a clean coffee grinder. This keeps well in an airtight container.

Ground roasted rice

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 – rather like cooked pastry – and it should be a deep golden brown in colour. (If it is insufficiently cooked, it is not only indigestible but unpalatable.) Leave to cool then grind to a fine to medium powder using a pestle and mortar or a clean coffee grinder. Store in an airtight container.

By Mr. David Thomson

06 May 2019 03:21PM
( Updated: 07 May 2019 10:08 PM )

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