Recipe: The Crying Tiger

TAGS: crying tiger, asian, hannah johnson, recipe

The Crying Tiger Story

So, I made Crying Tiger last night and froze a good bit of it. I'll be posting the recipe shortly. I like to go to a small (and extremely authentic) Asian Market off of High Point Road in Greensboro to buy my Oyster and Fish Sauce. Every time I go in there, I find myself marveling at the hideousness of what some people actually ingest. Ugh. Fear Factor-ish stuff, like big jars of "Beef Blood & Brains," jellyfish, shark fins, dried lichens, etc. I never look too closely at what's in the assorted jars, for fear I'll see a human head or something. I stick to the aisle that says "Rice Noodle – Boil Til Cook" (and Buddy, if I'm lyin', I'm flyin'...)

This market also has posters of Asian ladies in very little clothing, posing in mind-bending provacative positions while holding items like cans of soup in their tiny little beautifully manicured hands. The posters change so often that I sometimes think it's a ploy to get customers to come back more frequently...and buy more soup, I guess. Matt refuses to go. He says he doubts their immunization records are current and if we all end up with Asian Bird Flu, I'll be the responsible party. Whatever.

So, I was in the store and ready to check out, when I noticed a small bamboo-slat cage with things moving inside. A lady was perusing the contents of the cage, so I hid behind her back and peeked in.

Frogs...I shuddered.

The small sign on top of the cage read in spidery writing "$6 – For Pet Only." Yeah right, I thought. It was then I noticed that the cage had a small chain with a chopstick on the end. The woman was using it to poke the frogs and decide which one she wanted to take home with her...and eeeeeeeeat! "She's gonna EEEEEEEAT IT!" my inner voice trilled. "But what does it matter what they do with them?" my rational side countered. They're not your frogs. They prolly taste like chicken like everyone says. Ah, but they could be my frogs, couldn't they? For the low, low price of $6 I could save one of them! Oh, but what if they were all one big family? "Well, see grandchildren, this nice lady bought us from that Asian Market and let us go, well, all of us but Marvin, Marcus and Melvin, who were bought and eaten later that day. Let's all have a moment of silence..."

I mentally tabulated how many frogs the cage held, which was difficult because they were apparently on to the fact that one of them was about to go home with this lady, who was obviously not going to set it free in her garden to eat bugs off her organic tomato plants and save the environment from store-bought pesticides. No sirree, Bob. Altogether I estimated 13 frogs, give or take.

Uh-Oh. If I spend $80 on frogs Matt will kill me. I tiptoed around to my safe haven, the Rice Noodle aisle, and called Booby.

"Hey, Booby!"

"Hey My Love. Are you done shopping yet? I'm starving."

"Well, yeah, I'm ready to check out, but there's this thing..." I trailed off. This was the "Moment Of Truth."

"Thing? What kind of thing?"

It was here that I gathered all of my gusto and whispered rapid-fire, "There are frogs for sale and they're in a tiny little cage and there's a lady looking at them and she's poking them with this chopstick trying to see which one has meaty legs or something and I'm gonna buy them all and let them out, ok?"



More silence.

"Say something."

"Hold on. I can't process everything you just said. So, there's a lady with meaty legs and a chopstick-eating frog? And you want to buy her? That's not a good look, Hannah. What would the neighbors say?"

"Shut up. You know what I said. I want to buy them and let them go."

"That's incredibly dumb. They're prolly the rare man-eating Asian Horned Toad that can reproduce overnight and destroy whole cities. No, absolutely not."

"I'm doing it anyway."

"Buy those friggin' toads and I'll tell Jordan that you forgot to water his Azalea bushes while he was on vacation and that's why they died, not from that stray dog peeing on all ten of them. Come home. And bring the receipt with you so I can sleep tonight." He was practically bellowing at this point, and I knew we had reached serious war territory.

Dang. Sis-boom-bah dang. I was denied yet again by my own personal, Suze Orman. Denied...denied...DENIED!

I cautiously stepped from my hiding place and walked sadly to the checkout counter, taking one last lingering glance at the poor doomed frogs. As I placed my items on the counter, the old man (who looked 70-something, but was probably more like 120 years old) gave me a knowing look and said with a heavy accent, "Peepuh come in heeyah, and they fleek out! And they ass me, 'Haow can yoo a sehl dis stuff?' An yoo know wat I a say?"

Caught, I could only stare at him wide-eyed and eek out, "No, sir."

He briefly touched my hand and said, "I a say to dem 'I sell it...becuh peepul keep buyin it.' Hahahahahahahaha!"

And that's all. So, we had Crying Tiger for dinner...

 The Crying Tiger Recipe

OK, so here's the fantastical Thai Crying Tiger Sauce. It goes fabulously with steak, shrimp or pork. I tried it with chicken, but the flavor just isn't the same. I love to spoon this stuff over Jasmine Rice and let 'er roll...
*Note: I like to marinate my meat in Oyster Sauce, which is available in most supermarkets. If I don't have time to go to the Asian Market, I get mine at Harris Teeter.


  • 8-10 large limes
  • 2 bunches cilantro
  • 3 bunches green onions
  • 3/4 red onion
  • 3 TBS garlic
  • 4-6 hot dried thai peppers
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Cup thai fish sauce (to taste)


  • Place lime juice and fish sauce in blender.
  • Add remaining ingredients, chopping cilantro and onions to make blending easier.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Serve fresh or freeze individual portions for up to 6 months.

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