Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What's on the Grill #212: Beef in Red Curry Peanut Sauce

About five years ago, Zoe spent a month traveling all over Thailand.  Even though I was stuck stateside, I made up for her absence by eating, making and ordering Thai food.  Although her trip with tales of sub standard plumbing is long past, I still carry the Thai torch whenever I can.

I mostly use my wok outside.  I suppose it is the warm spring weather, as our sudden hint of summer likely explains why my wok has been hanging out on the grill's side burner.  It is ready for a workout.

Hot Wok

The week started off with my all time favorite, paht thai.  I again raise my wok to Nancie McDermott's Quick & Easy Thai, my go to Thai cookbook.  It is a great book, with so many easy, approachable and great tasting recipes. I can't recommend it enough...especially the paht thai.

Setting Egg

Now the one down side on this dish is although the cook time is short, the prep takes awhile.  Mise en place is incredibly important, as once you start, there is no stopping until you are done.

Paht Thai

Seeing paht is in a fairly regular rotation around here, I felt like something different and perhaps with a little less prep.  I was also looking to take advantage of some flank steak I had sitting around.  A few turn of the pages and I had my meal.

Beef in Red Curry Peanut Sauce
Adapted from Quick & Easy Thai

1 cup unsweetned coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 pound flank steak cut into thin 2 inch pieces
2 tbls red curry paste
2 tbls fish sauce
2 tbls brown sugar
3 tbls ground peanuts
handful of fresh basil leaves

I used my wok, but you can use any type of pan.  Add 1/2 cup of the coconut milk and the water to the wok and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Note: if you happen to open up your can of coconut milk and find this:

Uh oh

Fear not.  Coconut milk naturally separates.  Place the entire contents of the can in a bowl and mix it with a spoon until it returns to its creamy coconut-y delicousness.

Flank Steak

With the coconut milk and water simmering, add in the beef.  Allow the beef to cook for about 5 minutes.  Once done, remove the beef and transfer to a plate.

Strain

When the coconut milk returns to a boil, add the curry paste. Work the paste into the milk so it is evenly distributed.

Smash

Allow the paste/milk mixture to cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Return the beef to the wok.  Add the rest of the coconut milk and return to a boil.  Add in the peanuts, fish sauce and brown sugar.  Continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Add in the basil leaves and remove the wok from the heat.  Transfer to a plate or bowl and serve.

Red Curry Beef

My only issue with the curry was the lack of heat.  I must have skimped on the curry paste.  Next time I will up it a few notches...or spoons.  Overall though, it was outstanding.  I believe this is the first time I've made curry with beef.  Typically I go chicken or shrimp.  The flank steak worked really well and most importantly, cleared out a spot in the fridge.

Now with warmer weather on the horizon, I am certain I will be looking for more meals in my wok...with a little help from Nancie, of course!

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