Crying Tiger- Grilled Steak with a Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce

Today, I want to show you how to make this delicious and very easy to prepare Tiger Steak with a simple spicy dipping sauce that goes perfectly well with grilled steak.

With this recipe, I was inspired by my boyfriend’s Thai grandma. She makes this one of my favorite foods because it’s so light, yet filling. It will leave you slightly full, and your taste buds will thank you for it.

We have the same problem as everybody else, the number one thing that we all want to find out, what is the best way to cook a steak? In my opinion, there is only one right answer: Grilling. Because of the many benefits of grilling, every good cook should know how to do it.

Crying Tiger is a grilled steak dish served with a spicy Thai dipping sauce.

Although you won’t be eating a tiger, this meal does have a memorable name! The Thai name translates to ‘Crying Tiger,’ because the dipping sauce is said to be so hot that it would make a tiger weep.  

Overhead view of sliced grilled steak on a white plate with dipping sauce, lettuce leaves, and sliced cucumbers.

This meal is always a hit at our home when we host family dinners. It’s a straightforward meal of grilled steak and dipping sauce, but the sauce elevates it to new heights!

What Meat Should You Use in Crying Tiger?

Despite the name, we will not be eating Tiger! Instead, use your preferred steak cut for this recipe.

Start by salting both sides of the steak and setting it out on the counter to come to room temperature, about an hour.

Hand holding a piece of steak being dipped into the sauce.

Then, to achieve a beautiful crust on the exterior, pat the steaks dry.

You may cook the steaks on the grill or in a cast iron pan, like I did in the video below.

For this meal, I like the steak to be medium to medium well done. Always allow 10 minutes for your steak to rest before slicing.

Dipping Sauce for Crying Tigers

This is the most important part of Crying Tiger, and it may be tweaked to your preference. Spicy, sour, and salty are all words that come to mind while describing the sauce. It’s a taste trifecta.

Spicy dipping sauce for Crying Tiger.

Ingredients and Substitutions for the Sauce:

Ground Thai Chilis- Unlike ordinary red pepper flakes, ground Thai chilies are finer and more fiery. I’ve included a link to Amazon where you may purchase them.

Regular red pepper flakes or sliced fresh Thai Chilies may be used as substitutes.

Toasted Rice Powder- Similar to Larb and Nam Tok, Crying Tiger’s sauce calls for toasted rice powder as a Thai flavor. This may be found at Asian grocery shops or on Amazon (see below).

You may also create your own by gently toasting uncooked sweet rice grains with Thai lime leaves for a few minutes, then grinding in a spice grinder. After the rice has been crushed, sift it through a fine mesh strainer to ensure that only the powder remains.

Finished plate of Crying Tiger- sliced steak, lettuce leaves, sliced cucumbers, and dipping sauce.

Fish Sauce- You may modify the quantity of fish sauce to your preference, but if you don’t have any, soy sauce will suffice. You won’t get the same umami taste as you would with fish sauce.

Sugar- Palm sugar is traditionally used in Thailand, but I used coconut sugar instead. To balance out the dipping sauce, you may use brown sugar or normal sugar.

Lime Juice—Use fresh lime juice whenever possible; I used two full limes. Begin with one and increase as required.

I also prefer to dilute down the sauce with a few tablespoons of water; otherwise, it becomes excessively intense.

Hand holding a lettuce leaf with steak and dipping sauce being added with a spoon.

Is it possible to make the dipping sauce ahead of time?

I don’t suggest preparing it ahead of time since the toasted rice powder swells as it rests in the liquid. All of your herbs, as well as the things you’ll be feeding the weeping tiger with, may be prepared ahead of time.

Then, while the steak is cooking, put together the sauce.

Here’s the link to the full YouTube video:


Here are a few more hot Thai meals to try:

Thai Ground Chicken Salad (Larb)

Salad de Nue Nam Tok (Sliced Steak Salad).

Thai Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

These Thai recipes have strong spicy tastes and may be served with Thai Sticky Rice or a low-carb lettuce or cabbage leaf substitute.

Hand holding a piece of steak being dipped into a spicy sauce.

Recipe for Crying Tiger

Renee Fuentes is a model and actress.

Steaks on the grill a spicy dipping sauce with a Thai twist

15-minute prep time

Cooking Time: 7 minutes

Allow 1 hour for steak to come to room temperature before cooking.

1 hour 22 minutes total time

Salad as a main course

Thai cuisine

4 servings

calorie count: 321 kcal


  • Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, toasted rice powder, Thai pepper, coconut sugar, cilantro, green onion, and water in a mixing bowl. Season to taste after thoroughly mixing. Adjust the taste by diluting with water, or adding additional lime juice or fish sauce.

  • Preheat a grill or a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Dry the steaks and season them before placing them on the grill or in a pan to cook for a few minutes on each side until the required temperature is achieved.

  • Allow 10 minutes for the steaks to rest before slicing and serving with the dipping sauce.

  • Serve with lettuce, cabbage, cucumber slices, Thai Sticky Rice, or plain rice.


The toasted rice powder is the one item that may be difficult to come by. You may create your own using glutinous rice (see post) or buy it from Amazon. Thai Sticky Rice goes nicely with this meal.


1 gram = 1 serving calorie count: 321 kcal 4 g carbohydrate 50 g protein 11g fat 4g Saturated Fat 1 gram polyunsaturated fat Monounsaturated 4 g fat 138 milligrams of cholesterol 855mg sodium 854 mg potassium 1 gram of fiber 1 gram of sugar 351 IU Vitamin A 7 milligrams of vitamin C 76 milligrams of calcium 4 mg iron


I’m a big fan of Asian cuisine and often make Thai Stir-Fry dishes at home. Eating Asian food, especially stir-fry, is known to boost your metabolism and burn more calories than other types of food. Most stir-fry recipes call for using a wok. While a wok is an ideal cooking tool for stir-fry, it’s not always easy to find one, but not necessary if you are smart enough to improvise.. Read more about crying tiger lime sauce and let us know what you think.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • crying tiger salad
  • crying tiger hot sauce
  • crying tiger dipping sauce
  • crying tiger pork
  • tiger crying

Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.