How To Cook Lao-Style Grilled Ox Tongue

Lao-style grilled ox tongue is one of my favourite dishes in the world, but the traditional method of tenderising the ox tongue using shredded green papaya has never really turned out to my satisfaction (to be fair, I only tried it a couple of times).

I finally decided to use my sous vide unit and the result is perfect. If you don’t have a sous vide unit and you’re Asian and have an automatic rice cooker at home (yes, I’m stereotyping), the keep warm setting on it should work too.

By the way, if you’re based in Sydney, your best bet to buy ox tongue is from Asian butchers in Cabramatta – make sure you ask them to skin it for you, otherwise you could end up spending a loooong time doing it yourself at home.

Shoutout to Froothie Australia for the sous vide stick, and to Chang’s for the oyster sauce!

Lao-Style Grilled Ox Tongue


1 ox tongue (approx 1 kg pre-skinning)

Marinade –

1 TBSP salt

1 TBSP sugar

1 TBSP fish sauce

2 TBSP oyster sauce

2 TBSP minced garlic

1 tsp pepper

Dipping Sauce (combine and mix well) – 

2 TBSP fish sauce

1 TBSP lime/lemon juice

1 TBSP sugar

2 tsps minced garlic

2 tsps sliced bird’s eye chillies

1 TBSP chopped coriander


  1. Cut ox tongue lengthwise so each piece is about 2 cm thick.
  2. Combine with marinade ingredients, then place in one or more vacuum bags.
  3. Vacuum-seal the bags (if there’s a risk of the marinade leaking, you might need to double-bag, with the inner bag folded).
  4. Place in a water bath and sous-vide at 62’C for 6 hours (or use the keep warm setting on an automatic rice cooker, which, at 65’C, should be fine).
  5. Remove, wipe off the marinade, and sear on a pan with a little oil (or cook on a grill – check out GearHungry) for about 20 seconds each side.
  6. Slice and serve with the dipping sauce.


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