Crying tiger beef noodles

Sebby Holmes - Farang, London

I have absolutely no bloody idea why this dish is called this. I’m assuming because traditionally the amount of dried chilli it has in it can seriously mess you up. Either that or tigers hate the taste of it? I’ve also heard people call it by the name waterfall beef, due to how the juices that flow from the beef like a waterfall are used as part of the dressing to give a fuller, richer flavour.

 Feeds 2, gluten free

Ingredients

250-300 g beef bavette steak; any flash fry cut of steak that you prefer is fine to use, however the rich offal flavour of bavette or onglet is ideal for this dish.

150 g rice noodles, pour boiling water over them to cover and leave for 8-10 minutes to soften, stir occasionally, refresh in cold water and place to one side ready for stir frying.

3 tablespoons palm sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 limes, juiced

2 tablespoons glutinous rice, toasted on a medium heat in a dry pan until nutty and golden brown and then powdered in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.

5 long dried birds eye chillies, toasted in a dry pan until darkened slightly and crisp, then powdered in a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder (more if you like your spice, less if you don't)

3 tablespoons tamarind paste

4 big chunks of iceberg lettuce, washed and drained

A heaped tablespoon soft butter

1 pinch flaked sea salt

Method

Start by making the dressing. In a pestle and mortar combine the palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, roasted rice, dried chilli and the tamarind. Grind in a pestle and mortar until all ingredients are as one. Have a taste - it should be salty, smoky, a little sweet and nutty from the roasted rice. Adjust in the direction that you like, if you want.

Next cook the steak. Allow the meat to get to room temperature before cooking. Coat the steak in the soft butter and sprinkle with sea salt, gently massaging the seasoning into the flesh. In a very hot pan, grill pan or a BBQ cook the steak, remember it is important for the steak to be quite rare, even blue as to retain as much blood and flavour as possible to later mix with the dressing and finish the dish. I cook for 1-2 minutes on either side, dependent on the thickness of the steak and then remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes in a warm place. Next, slice the steak across the grain of the meat into bite sized pieces, roughly 1 cm thick each so they melt in the mouth.

Finally plate up. Pour the steak and all the juices on the chopping board into a mixing bowl, add the dressing and the rice noodles and then toss and stir thoroughly, making sure all the noodles have been coated and seasoned. Plate the noodles upon the iceberg lettuce leaves in neat piles, making sure to have some of the lovely steak visible on the top. The lettuce adds a welcome fresh crunch to this otherwise soft dish.

Garnish with a sprinkle of toasted rice powder, if you have it, for added texture, serve with chopsticks and napkins to mop up the tears.