As the weather becomes nicer I start to really resent making dishes that take hours. I type this after having the last two and a half hours of my life cooking/cleaning. It makes me positively nostalgic for quicker, more flavorful dishes like this Thai Red Curry Beef made with Mae Ploy Curry Paste. Mae Ploy is a Thai brand which sells curry pastes ( on amazon!) that are bigger on flavor than insipid grocery store ones. By the time I am done ‘fixing’ those I often feel that I may as well have made the paste myself! But that runs counter to my whole wanting to spend less time cooking thing. That said, when I first used this paste I found it unpleasantly punchy. However, with some tweaking I have found ratios that work well for me.
Thai food for me is simultaneously humbling and inspiring. The transformation of fairly simple ingredients into something so surprisingly complex seems magical. I also really enjoy that Thai cuisine seems to display a greater awareness of how to treat ingredients. The peppers in a curry should be crunchy not tender, the beef or shrimp cooked just so. What many of us have learnt in the last decade Thai cuisine has known all along.
I aim to be one of those fancy pants people who can whip up a delish Thai meal in no time, but for now I am stolidly building up my repertoire of some basics. This Thai Crunch Salad w Peanut Dressing, the Thai Noodle Salad, and the Thai Chicken Sliders are my current go tos. What about you? What are some of your favourite Thai recipes – do share!
- ½-1 lb beef tenderloin
- 2 tbsp mae ploy red curry paste
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 4-6 lime leaves optional, see note
- One red onion
- One red pepper
- Handful of chopped peanuts
- 8-10 basil leaves
- Chop your red pepper and onion into similar similar sized strips or cubes. I cut mine into 1cm cubes. Set aside
- Thinly slice the beef tenderloin against the grain
- Warm a skillet and add a tbsp. of oil
- Add your red curry paste and stir fry for at least two minutes – red curry paste can be unpleasant if it retains its rawness. The color will darken, the smells will heighten. Embrace it
- Gently open your can of coconut milk and skim the ‘cream’ off the top with a spoon and add it to the skillet
- Cook for another 3 mintues, it will be well combined and the oil will start to separate a little
- Add your veggies, lime leaves, and the beef strips and cook for 5-7 minutes. If you overcook the meat it will become tough so pull it out at 5 and gently press with the side of a fork to test for donenessl
- Squeeze in a little lime juice, adjust the consistency with water if needed and add the basil.
- Serve over rice and scattered with chopped peanuts.
The trick with a red curry is to cook off the rawness of the paste early and then cook the protein + veg until just done. Thinly sliced beef (or for more tenderness veal) is a must. If your pieces are too thick then add the veggies a little later