Thai Red Beef Curry
Who doesn’t love a good curry? My preference of curry changes weekly, sometimes daily, but I’ve been on my Thai buzz for a few months now. A couple of years ago I tried numerous different recipes for homemade paste but was left disappointed by all of them. Although all were fresh and aromatic they never quite gave me the full flavour of my favourite (asian) shop bought paste. For our supper club night I had to up my game, no shop bought paste would do. The testing began a few weeks before. After plenty of research I settled on my favourite bits from about 6 different recipes and then began to make it. The first attempt was ok but there was a serious overpowering of lemon grass. For the next one I halved the lemon grass but the heat was ferocious using home dried chillies. It went on like this for awhile until I got to these proportions. We needed to keep the curry relatively mild to avoid blowing the mouths off our diners but feel free to change the type/quantity of chilli to suit your own tastes.
I decided on brisket for this recipe as it’s tender (when slow cooked) and is big on flavour. This was the obvious choice for me when cooking for 30 but if it’s too much for you at home you can swap it out for fillet or sirloin for a quick cook in the sauce. You could use just about any meat in this dish, add it to the curry at the same time I add the beef and simmer it until cooked, then add the vegetables and simmer for another 10 minutes.
For the Beef:
1.5KG Beef Brisket
1 Onion (roughly chopped)
1 Carrot (roughly chopped)
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
For the Paste:
20g Dried Ancho Chillies (de-seeded/stalked)
2 tbsp Coriander Seed
2 tsp Cumin Seed
1 Nutmeg (grated)
2 stalks Lemon Grass (finely sliced)
zest of 2 Limes
6 Shallots (finely sliced)
4 cloves of Garlic (finely sliced)
2 tsp Shrimp Paste
2 tsp White Pepper
For the Curry:
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Tins of Coconut Milk (800ml total)
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves
2 tbsp Fish Sauce
2 tbsp Palm Sugar
2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
4 Peppers (finely sliced)
1 head of Pak Choi (finely sliced)
Fresh Coriander and Chilli for garnish
Jasmine Rice to serve
1. First get the beef on. Lay out the brisket and season well on both sides, roll it up and tie with butchers string. Put the vegetables on the bottom of a roasting dish and put the rolled brisket on top. Cover with foil and roast in a 140 degree oven for 3.5-4 hours.
2. Meanwhile make the curry paste. Soak the chillies in water for an hour, keeping the water when done. Put the coriander, cumin and nutmeg into a dry pan over a medium heat and toast until they become fragrant being careful not to burn anything. Add the spices to a blender with all of the other paste ingredients and blitz. If it needs loosening you can add some of the reserved chilli soaking water.
3. When the brisket is cooked, remove it from the oven and retain any juices in the pan. Let the meat sit at room temperature and as soon as it’s cool enough to handle chop it into bite size pieces. You could also pull the meat apart with two forks. Set aside.
4. To make the curry, heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the paste and bring to the boil to get the flavours singing. Add the coconut milk along with 800ml of water or 800ml of the reserved beef juices (or 400ml of each). Bring to the boil before adding the lime leaves, fish sauce, palm sugar and rice vinegar. Add the beef and simmer for 10 minutes before adding the vegetables. Simmer for another 10 minutes before serving with rice. Garnish with a little fresh coriander and chilli.