When the temperatures begin to dip we look for warmth in the foods we eat. Stews and other braised dishes are hard to beat when it comes to the perfect weapon to fight the gales of the colder weather. When we think of braises, our thoughts typically go to the stews originating in Europe, but Asia has some incredible braises that are just as easy to pull together as a classic beef and barley stew, but with the benefit of some more exotic flavour profiles.
This Thai curry is made with Thai red curry paste as the main seasoning component; red chilies enhanced with galangal, lemongrass, coriander, and garlic. Typically commercially produced that curry pastes contain shrimp paste to enhance the umami, so be sure to check the label if a shellfish allergy is a concern.
I’m using beef chuck flats to make this curry as I like the fat content and the deep beefy flavour in this cut. It’s important that you brown the beef first as it really makes for a deeply satisfying finished product. If you want to make the stew even heartier, feel free to add in some larger wedges of yellow-fleshed potatoes; the curry and potato combo will make your taste buds feel quite pleasured. If you want to skip the potatoes, jasmine rice is the route I’d go. Jasmine rice is so floral in the aroma and brings out the lemongrass scent in the curry. When it comes to the basil, just stir through before you serve to maintain optimal fragrance and flavour
Thai Beef Red Coconut Curry
5 lbs stewing beef (chuck), cubed
4 cups squash or sweet potato, cubed
2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
2 red bell pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 large onion, sliced
¼ cup red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 tetra pack no-salt beef stock
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the beef and brown.
- Remove from pan, and set aside on a plate.
- Saute ginger, garlic and onions until onions turn translucent; stir in curry paste and cook for a minute.
- Season with fish sauce.
- Pour in beef broth, coconut milk.
- Bring to a boil.
- Stir well to combine.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hrs or until meat starts to become tender.
- Stir in bell pepper and squash/sweet potato (adding more water if needed) and sauce begins to thicken.
- Simmer until everything is tender.
- Garnish with fresh lime, cilantro and basil.
* When meat is tender, add potatoes and remaining coconut cream: cook for 5 minutes. Then add bell pepper and chilies. Cook for another 2 minutes. Serve hot with steamed rice or mashed potatoes
Chef ILona Daniel is Harrowsmith’s Food Editor and the founder of Tribe Fresh Events and Consulting, a purpose-driven insights consultancy accelerated by modern approaches to the hospitality industry, immersive experiences, and community and culture development. She has worked on projects around the world and is on the Board of Directors for the Tourism Association of PEI. Chef Ilona is a media personality, and a Culinary Instructor at the Culinary Institute of Canada.