Most of the dishes in Katie Chin's new cookbook, Everyday Thai Cooking, aren't terribly spicy. They have hints of heat running in the background, but most of them are geared towards the (relatively) puny American spice palate. Not so with her Crying Tiger Lamb, named for its ability to make even a tiger weep. This dish has no such restraint—it's not only fiery, but it's also got a strong hand with salty fish sauce, sour lime juice, and grassy cilantro. In other words: it is seriously awesome, and a true gift to lamb lovers.
Why I picked this recipe: It was hard to resist a dish with such an evocative name.
What worked: Everything here was spot on—the copious cilantro kept the richness of the lamb in check, and the super salty, spicy sauce perfectly complemented the gaminess of the meat. I could eat this every day.
What didn't: No problems at all.
Suggested tweaks: If you don't have a grill (or you've packed it away already), you can easily sear the lamb in a cast iron skillet on the stove. Just be sure to turn on your hood—the sugar in the marinade creates a lot of smoke! Traditionally, this dish is made with beef, so if you're not into lamb, you could make the same dish with ribeye or flank.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.