Today was Rob’s birthday, and he requested a re-creation of the Thai Beef Curry he usually orders at a local restaurant. I could not find a recipe that was a match in terms of ingredients, so I found the closest recipe I could find, and adapted it. (This recipe, in its original form also appears in last Thursday’s menu planning entry). I had already planned to substitute carrots, and onions for the spinach and mushrooms, but as I actually cooked the dish I made a few other changes. I also had the serendipity of hearing a recipe for a Thai Cantaloupe Salad on Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s “Splendid Table” radio show, which I was able to get from the show’s website. I made it, along with rice, to accompany the curry, and the birthday boy (“birthday man” just sounds strange) said it met his expectations. Whew!
Here’s the curry recipe again, with the changes I made. I’m sure its delicious made “by-the-book,” but I can absolutely vouch for it as I produced it tonight.
Thai Red Beef Curry Recipe
- 500g lean beef strips
- 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste (I ended up using 4 tbsp to get enough heat)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 300ml canned coconut milk (I used unsweetened, and the standard can here is 400ml which I used in its entirety)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp Brown sugar
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1/2 red capsicum (large mild pepper)
- 80g button mushrooms (I used about 1 cup of thin carrot rounds, instead)
- 80g spinach (I used a medium onion halved and sliced thin)
- 4 tbsp chopped basil
Mix the beef strips with oil and garlic. Heat wok on high. Stir-fry the beef strips in batches 1 minute, removing each batch when cooked. Before returning beef strips to wok, add capsicum (sliced) and sliced mushrooms with a sprinkling of water. Stir for 2 minutes. (I cooked the beef, garlic, carrots, peppers and onions all together because I couldn’t see how the carrots would ever get cooked, otherwise. I did not remove the beef from the pan at any point. The vegetables cooked perfectly in the time it took the meat to brown, and then I drained the fat from the pan).
Return beef strips. Add curry paste, fish sauce, coconut milk, brown sugar, chopped spinach and chopped basil. Toss to heat through. Then serve with boiled rice and fresh basil leaves.
Cantaloupe Salad with Thai Basil and Chile
From Lynne’s Menu for Entertaining Inspired by Lee Bailey, July 2002
By Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Have everything cut and ready, but mix just before serving.
- 1 medium to large cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 red jalapeno pepper, partially seeded and cut into small dice (I only had a greed one)
- 2/3 cup torn Thai, Cinnamon or Spicy Globe basil leaves (regular basil can be used)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- Generous pinch sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Gently combine all ingredients, tasting as you add each one. Set out in a bowl with long bamboo skewers.
2. Spear chunks of melon to eat.