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neua kem

Salty Sun-Dried Beef / neua kem  or  neua daet diow   Real Thai: The Best of Thailand’s Regional Cooking Chapter 4: The Northeast

Salty from fish sauce, punchy from ground black pepper, mellow with a bit of sugar, this dish of simply marinated, dried, and quickly fried beef may remind you of beef jerky. Unlike jerky, this means of enhancing and preserving salty meat is thick and chewy, and its marinade is pared down, not over-the-top with spices and sauces. neua means meat, in this case neua uwoowa, meat of the cow, which traditionally in the Northeastern rural landscape would have been water buffalo, an older one past its prime in terms of plowing and hauling. kem means salty and sharp. The adjectival form, daet diow, is the one I love. daet means sun, and diow means only, sole, or just one. One-sun beef, meaning that the recipe was clear. Marinate the meat well, set it out in the fierce sun for one day’s worth of sunlight, and voila: Ready to fry up for neua daet diow: all-day beef, single-sun beef, salty sun-dried, quick-fried chewy delicious beef.

Here I’ve paired it with Sri Rachaa sauce, the original Thai old-school fantastic thing, which you will find at Asian markets. Its texture is softer and its flavor though super hot, has a note of sweet-tangy, a complexity missing in the rooster-version. What makes this dish fantastically good is to serve it with jaew makeua tet, which I’ve posted about. Click HERE for photo and notes on Issahn-style Roasted Tomato, Garlic, and Chili Sauce. Add a basket of sticky rice, kao niow, and you will have a classic little trio of marvelous complementary dishes.

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