Patrick‘s bathroom has a butterfly peeling from the wall. It’s blue and black and cracked along one wing. Patrick’s living room has a red chaise longue and a piano with ivory keys, covered in green felt. Patrick’s balcony has a kitten hunting bubbles and a view into a window where a girl in a yellow top stretches and puts on the tea. And for one evening, his kitchen featured a weeping tiger.
Weeping tiger is steak cooked sweet and rich with soy, oyster sauce, ginger, chilli and vinegar alongside the Thai staples of lime and coriander. It’s hot, sticky and meltingly tender – a thing of dark beauty. When I first made weeping tiger, it blew up in my face, hot fat spitting from the flames, but the meat was worth the speckling of reddening skin on my fingers.
I used to live at the end of Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, amongst some of the best restaurants in London. I’d walk that gauntlet of mouthwatering smells every morning on my way to work and passing Thai Metro, the smell of lime and coriander mingling with the rich meat, my appetite would pique and I’d find myself hankering after a mystery meal.
It wasn’t until my mum and I actually ate at the restaurant that it became apparent that the dish I needed was the sizzling Weeping Tiger. There it was served in a hot iron dish – here it’s served on the only clean dish I could find. There it came with egg fried rice – I preferred noodles because I don’t trust rice ever since I found out it could explode pigeons.
For the steak:
- 2 steaks. Mine was just a 200g cut from L’Artisan in Greenwich.
- 3 tablespoons dark soya sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- One green chilli, finely chopped. Seeds ‘n’ all.
- A knob of ginger, about the size of the first joint of a thumb. Peeled and grated
- Salt & pepper
- One garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
- Juice of one lime
- A splash of rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- Fresh coriander, to garnish
For the noodles:
- One block of fine Chinese egg noodles
- One onion, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- One green chilli, finely sliced
- One egg
Combine all the ingredients for the steak marinade and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning. Make sure the steaks are properly coated in the mixture and cover. Refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Get a pan of salted water up to a rolling boil and heat a good splash of oil (groundnut or sesame is best) in a wok until it’s shimmering. Add the noodles to the water and separate using a chopstick. Get the onions in the wok and keep stirring whilst getting a grill pan searingly hot with a little oil to avoid the steak sticking.
Drain the noodles. Add the garlic, chilli and egg to the wok and furiously stir before carefully laying the steaks on the grill. Sear for around 1 minute and 30 seconds before flipping. Keep stirring that wok, too. Grill for another minute before adding the rest of the marinade. After 10 seconds of hissing and spitting, remove the steaks from the pan and allow to sit on a chopping board. Stir the noodles into the hot wok with the onions, garlic and chilli. Add the newly reduced sauce from the grill pan.
Divvy out the noodles. Slice the steak and place on top of the noodles. Garnish with a few fresh leaves of coriander.
Quick. Simple. You’ll understand why the tiger weeps. It’s not for pain – it’s for joy.