Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dry Beef Curry with Peanut and Lime

This whole wedding planning thing has severely cut into my cookbook acquisitions and I've been feeling like I'm in a bit of a rut. One thing I've struggled with is my love of Thai food, but my lack of enjoyment with the Thai-focused books that I do have. Despite Real Thai coming highly recommended, the recipes just aren't what I think about when I think of Thai food. The Complete Asian Cookbook that I have just isn't as approachable as I'd like. August has a Thai Cooking book that he likes, but I'd never really given it a fair shot. I decided to change that this week. So far, so good. The recipe below could be simplified a lot by relying on a pre-made red Thai curry paste (although you can easily make this one while the beef simmers and you should note that it makes much, much more than you need for this recipe). The end result was a dry beef curry, tender and full of flavor from the curry paste and peanut butter. I thought it could do with just a little less lime juice at the end, so if your limes are juicy, you might want to be careful.

One year ago: Stewed Radishes with Tamarind
Two years ago: Rhubarb Lamb Stew
Three years ago: Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones

Dry Beef Curry with Peanut and Lime (The Cook's Encyclopedia of Thai Cooking)
1 can coconut milk
2 lb stewing steak, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
1 1/4 cup beef stock
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
juice of 2 limes
Curry paste
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
seeds from 6 green cardamom pods
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp paprika
zest of 1 mandarin orange, finely grated
5 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 piece lemongrass, shredded
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4" piece galangal, finely chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
3/4" square shrimp paste
50g cilantro root or stem, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Strain coconut milk into bowl, retaining thicker milk in sieve.
2. Pour thin coconut milk into large heavy pan and scrape in half of thicker milk. Reserve remaining. Add chopped beef, pour in beef stock, and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes.
3. Dry-fry curry paste seeds for 1 - 2 minutes. The book suggests then working together ingredients in a mortar, I went with a combination of spice grinder and food processor. Pick what works for you until you have a paste.
4. Strain beef, reserving cooking liquid.
5. Place a cup of cooking liquid in a wok. Stir in 2 - 3 tbsp of curry paste. Boil until liquid has evaporated.
6. Stir in reserved coconut milk, peanut butter, and beef. Simmer uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes.
7. Stir in lime juice and serve.

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