Red Beef Curry

11 Jan

Today’s recipe comes from “The Everything Thai Cookbook” by Jennifer Malott Kotylo.

I had this idea that each month I would do dishes from a different part of the world. I wanted to begin with North Africa and start off with an Algerian dish, but I never came across one that was equal parts appealing and simple to make. I had just about given up hope on fancy foreign dishes when I came across an entire book of Thai recipes. I dove right in and picked one mostly at random.

I really wanted to follow the recipe to make the red curry paste myself, but since I still don’t have a food processor and my grocery store didn’t have the proper chilies, I settled on store-bought. I didn’t really think I’d be able to find it in the store (and I was equally uncertain about locating coconut milk and fish sauce), but luckily it was all found in the Asian Foods aisle of my local Meijer (go figure).



  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Red Curry Paste
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 pound lean beef, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons (roughly) ground peanuts
  • 1-3 tablespoons (to taste) fish sauce
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 green or red sweet pepper, seeded and cubed
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • Rice, cooked according to package directions
Red Beef Curry 1


  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over low heat. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    Red Beef Curry 2
  2. Stir in the coconut milk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the beef strips and poach for 5 minutes.
    Red Beef Curry 3
  3. Add the peanuts and continue to poach for an additional 5 minutes.
    Red Beef Curry 4
  4. Add the fish sauce and sugar to taste; continue to cook until the mixture is almost dry, then add the sweet pepper and basil and cook for 5 more minutes.
    Red Beef Curry 5
Serve with rice. Serves 4.


I had to adjust my cooking in regards to the recipe just a bit. The last step says to cook until the mixture was almost dry, but it didn’t look like that was about to happen, and since I wanted more of the sauce to cover the rice anyway, I went ahead and added the peppers and basil earlier than that. I also used crushed basil leaf, which is probably different than chopped fresh basil, and if you’re doing the same substitution, you won’t need nearly as much basil as the recipe calls for – I probably only used a tablespoon or two, not a quarter cup.

This dish really nailed the flavor balance that Thai food purportedly strives for. It was mild enough for my picky mom to enjoy, but since I am a fan of spicier cuisine, I added a ton of Sriracha sauce. This turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life, and if you make this dish, I strongly suggest you pick up Sriracha to add to it. All-in-all, this was a successful venture into foreign food preparation, and I’ll be happy to use my leftover red curry paste and coconut milk on more Thai dishes from this cookbook.

Red Beef Curry 6

Red Beef Curry 7


2 Responses to “Red Beef Curry”

  1. Mom 2012/01/11 at 8:56 pm #

    Yep, from James’ verrrry picky Mom: it was yummy!


  1. Almond Chicken « The Kitchen Studio - 2012/01/18

    […] my theme of Asian food that I started with last week’s red beef curry, today’s dish comes from the more northern and much larger nation of China. When I chose this […]

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