Spicy Thai Red Beef Curry

Total Time:
1 hr 10 min
30 min
40 min

6 servings

  • Red Curry Paste:
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped lemongrass (from root end)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 8 medium red chiles, such as Fresno
  • 4 small shallots, halved
  • 1 Sri Lankan (kaffir) lime leaf, torn into pieces (see Cook's Note)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Curry:
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • Two 14-ounce cans coconut milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh Thai basil
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh mint
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • For the red curry paste: In a food processor, combine the cilantro, oil, ginger, lemongrass, coriander, cumin, shrimp paste, garlic, red chiles, lime leaf, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pulse to a consistent paste.

  • For the curry: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring well, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pot and increase the heat to high. Sprinkle the flank steak with a pinch of salt, then add it to the pot; cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the steak and add the onions and peppers; cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, bring to a gentle boil, then add the curry paste back to the pot; stir well. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. (If the coconut milk breaks and separates, don't worry: it will come back together to a smooth consistency.) Add the chicken broth and fish sauce, and continue simmering until the sauce has a nice, gravy-like consistency, 12 to 15 minutes. Return the beef to the pot and finish with the cilantro, basil, mint and lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Cook's Note: Sri Lankan lime leaves can be purchased online or in Asian food markets. If they cannot be sourced, a good substitute can be made from a combination of bay leaves, lime zest and lemon thyme. One small bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon lime zest and 1/4 teaspoon lemon thyme is the equivalent of one Sri Lankan lime leaf.

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