I grew up with the smell of deep fried beef swept from the kitchen door. The breakfast was ready as I heard the last bang of spatula against the wok and the sizzle sound of hot oil vanished. The crispy strips of deep fried beef jerky arranged on the plate, I still saw the tiny oil bubbles which were still hissing on the crust.
The brittle beef was very crispy from the outside and wonderfully moistened with flavours inside. How easily it melted in the mouth, left behind the aroma of garlic and comforting heat of pepper.
It was an almost celebrated and graceful picture to have the healthy strips of beef drying around our house wherever there was sun light, balcony, next to window, in front of the house, on the side or even on the roof. My mom made beef jerky in large batches usually in winter, when the air was dry and the warm sunlight shined the whole day.
Fresh beef was sliced into long strips and season with salt, garlic and crushed white pepper. Then they were dried in the sunlight for a day. At the end of the day, the beef would be dried and ready to be kept for a whole month. These beautiful dried strips are further hung in our kitchen or bundled up and kept in the dried storage. Another reason why we loved to make this in the chilling winter so much was because the sizzling hot strip of rustic beef jerky was one of the most comforting things you could find in the cold days.
Thai Beef Jerky is not as dried and ready to be consumed like those in the West. The beef is slightly moist inside and further cooking preparation like deep frying or grilling is required before eating. The beef trips are crusted in flavour of garlic and white pepper and you can see the ingredients dehydrated against the jerky. It is the traditional way of preserving red meat, these beautiful strips could be stored in room temperate for a month.
Thai Beef Jerky (Sun-Dried Beef)
1 kg round steak- cut into long thin strips
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp roughly ground white pepper
8 cloves garlic- pounded into rough paste
Oil for deep frying
- Season beef strips with salt, white pepper and garlic. Mix well with hand and let the beef stand for 10 minutes.
- Arrange the beef in bamboo tray/drying basket or hang on the clean rod directly in sun light for several hours preferably whole day or until the meat is dried. You can also dry the beef in the preheated oven at 160 degree F for about 2 hours. Store in the cool dry place.
- To cook, heat the oil in the deep fryer over the medium heat. When the oil is hot, add dried beef, it should immediately sizzle. Cook further for only a few minutes or until the beef is crispy and thoroughly cooked. Serve hot as snack or with warm sticky rice as a meal.
As I laid the first batch of beef jerky to dry in the warm winter sunlight, Yaseen ran back and forth to check if they were ready. He love deep fried Thai beef jerky with warm sticky rice. The delicious fragrance was purling from hot oil, as the beef become perfectly crisp. I wonder how they could be so crunchy and melt-y at the same time. They were seriously addictive when I dunk them in some chili sauce and savoured. I knew I probably have to come up with another batch real soon because this one is already almost out of stock.
Have a wonderful day,