Like a good steak, you only flip the ox tongue once on the barbecue. The papaya in the marinade helps to soften the tongue, which, when cooked, is wonderfully tender. Jaew som, sometimes referred to as jaew bong, is a sweet and spicy Laotian dipping sauce. Any offal doubters will be converted by this recipe.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (97 votes)


  • 1 ox tongue, cleaned and halved lengthways (ask your butcher to do this)
  • steamed rice or salad, to serve


  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp fish sauce
  • 3 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 cup shredded green papaya
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ onion, diced

Jaew som

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 red bird's-eye chillies
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2–3 limes, juiced
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • ¼ bunch coriander, including roots and stalks, finely chopped 
  • 1 red Asian shallot, thinly sliced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time overnight

To make the marinade, place all ingredients in a large bowl and combine well. Add the ox tongue, toss to coat, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

To make the jaew som, use a mortar and pestle to pound the garlic, chilli and sugar to a fine paste. Add the remaining ingredients and adjust to taste for a balance of sweet, sour and salty.  

Scrape marinade off tongue and cook on a charcoal grill for 3–5 minutes on each side. Slice tongue thinly and serve with jaew som and steamed rice or salad.