Thai jerky or Nua Kem is a classic fast-food item that’s meaty and satisfying, perfect for a heavy lunch or a quick evening meal.
If you visit Thailand, you’ll find the jerky in every market, and it’s instantly recognizable for its firm but juicy texture and lovely glaze.
Making Thai beef jerky, though, is not that easy. You need to work with very thin steaks and dehydrate them with salt before cooking.
That’s how you make instant Thai beef jerky, and it makes all the difference texture-wise.
To make this beefy delight, you start with thin flank steak, that after half an hour marinating in salt, loses a lot of moisture.
Then the steak is ready to hit the grill or oven. I use the stove because you want to cook this one low and slow, so set the oven to the lowest temperature possible and cook the jerky for at least an hour!
There are several types of Thai jerky, though, the plain kind, which you can then combine with a wide variety of sauces, and the sticky kind, made by glazing the meat with a fish sauce, honey and coriander seed sauce. This one’s my favorite, but I’ll show you how to do both below.
Once the jerky is ready, enjoy it with a side of steamed white rice and pickled veggies for the authentic Thai experience.
Cut the steaks against the grain to make sure they’re not too chewy; this is flank steak, after all. If you love meat and Thai food, you’ll fall for this one, and it’s perfect for Thai-themed dinner parties!
Pat the steaks dry and coat them with salt on both sides. Let them sit for thirty minutes.
Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature (often between 150 and 170°F)
Spread the steaks on a baking tray without overlapping and bake for an hour on the oven’s top-shelf. The steaks should dry out nicely while remaining somewhat juicy.
You can cool the jerky to room temperature for future use or cook them immediately.
If cooking Thai style, combine the fish sauce with the honey and the coriander. Baste the beef jerky with the fish sauce-honey mixture before baking. Serve with pickled veggies and white rice.
Note: Do not use soy sauce, as the jerky is quite salty already.