Thai Crunchy Beef Strips - An Easy and Delicious Thai Snack Recipe for Neua Tord
In North America, we put an awful lot of importance on "tenderness" valuing the relative softness of a cut of meat over its tastiness and often paying a real premium for meats that spare our teeth a chewy work out.
People aren’t so against using their teeth for chewing stuff in Thailand, and are willing to work through a tough piece of meat if it rewards them with better taste, and the way Thais deep fry strips of beef until they are dried intentionally chewy is a great illustration of the tough/tender East/West divide!
The cuts that tend to cost the least at a Thai food market include such "premium" items as pork tenderloin and pork loin roasts or boneless skinless chicken breasts. These cuts, with little fat or flavor, hold very little appeal over here.
Anyway, you may not naturally think of cutting up a steak into strips and deep frying it until chewy when you’re in the mood for a snack – but you should try it because you will like it! Drop a plate of these chewy beefy morsels down in front of a few people enjoying a game on TV and watch how quickly they get devoured. These are great with sticky rice (and if you were in Thailand, you would often eat these as an accompaniment to whiskey or beer).
Thai Fried Beef Strips (Neua Tord)
- 1 lb of beef cut into 2 inch long strips, a little bit thicker than a pencil in diameter. Any kind of beef will do here, but there is no reason to pay much of a premium for expensive meat. A bit of beef chuck or brisket is perfect – pretty low cost, with a bit of tasty fat and loaded with flavor.
- 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tsps of salt
- 1 Tbls of fish sauce
- 2 Tbls of soy sauce
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 2 tsps of MSG (you can omit this if you're wary of MSG)
- Vegetable oil for frying – corn oil is a good substitute for the palm oil used here, but any vegetable oil or other neutral tasting oil will work just fine.
- Rub all the ingredients evenly over the meat strips and leave to marinate for about ½ an hour. Because the meat is sliced so finely, you don't need a long marinating time, and if you're in a rush, a half an hour can be reduced to about 10 minutes, and it will still taste good.
- Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large and heavy skillet or fry pan over medium (a cast iron pan is perfect) and when hot, add in all of the beef strips (if you don't have a big fry pan, you might need to do this in 2 batches – you don't want to overcrowd.)
- Fry the meat, moving the pieces gently from time to time, until the meat is dark brown and chewy/crunchy, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the heat of the oil and the size of your beef slices.
Serve as a snack with cucumber slices, cilantro sprigs and Nam Jim Jeaow (Recipe to follow) or as a part of a larger Thai style meal, with either white rice or Thai sticky rice.
Nam Jim Jeaow
- 2 Tbls water
- 1 Tbls fish sauce
- 1 Tbls lime juice
- 1 tsp – 1 Tbls dried red chili flakes, depending on your preference for heat
- 1 tsp ground rice powder
Mix it all together and taste for seasoning. Serve as a dipping sauce for grilled or fried meats.
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