I had these beef skewers in a Bangkok night market. They were so irresistible that, even though I was trying not to repeat myself, I got the taxi to stop there for another taste the next night when I was on my way to the airport. The use of white pepper here means that the recipe is an old Siamese one. White pepper was used in Southeast Asia for many centuries, to provide heat for the spicy food. It was only after the Spanish and Portuguese went to South America in the 16th century that hot chilies were transported around the world to countries such as Thailand.
– 1lb (450g) tender beef such as sirloin or rib eye, trimmed of any fat.
– 2 tbsp soy sauce.
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil.
– 1 tsp sugar.
– 3 coriander (cilantro) roots, cleaned and.
– chopped (if not available, use the lower.
– part of the stems, finely chopped).
– 1 tbsp coriander seeds.
– pinch of salt.
– 20 white peppercorns.
– 3 slices fresh ginger.
– 2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer leaves discarded, finely chopped.
– 1 head of garlic (leave cloves unpeeled).
– 20–30 fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish.
– freshly ground black pepper.
– For the green chili sauce.
– 3 fresh green jalapeño or serrano chilies, seeded and finely chopped.
– 2 garlic cloves.
– 2 coriander (cilantro) roots, chopped.
– 1 tsp salt.
– 2 tsp sugar.
– 30 fresh cilantro leaves.
– juice of 3 limes.
– 2 tbsp Asian fish sauce.
Step 2: Crush the coriander root, coriander seeds, salt, and peppercorns using a pestle and mortar, or in a food processor. Add the ginger, lemongrass, and garlic; continue to pound or process until a rough coarse-ground paste. Rub all over the meat. Heat a grill pan for at least 5 minutes until very hot. Skewer 3 or 4 pieces of meat onto each of the skewers. In batches, grill for 3 minutes or until golden brown on one side. (Don’t move the meat while it is cooking.) Turn over and cook for 2 minutes longer, until crisp on the outside and medium rare inside. Remove from the pan and let rest for a few minutes. Garnish with cilantro.
Step 3: Make the green chili sauce. Using a pestle and mortar, crush the green chilies, garlic, and coriander root with the salt and sugar until smooth. Add the cilantro leaves and keep pounding until a green paste forms. Add the lime juice and fish sauce. Check the seasoning. If it is very acidic, dilute with a little water. Serve as a dipping sauce to accompany the hot skewers.