Beat the blues with a Thai red curry
By Bill Daley
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
A bowl of Thai red curry beef always wards off the March blues. There's the creamy sweetness of the coconut milk, the smell of freshly chopped basil, the rich chewiness of the beef and, of course, a warmly complex swath of red curry spice holding the dish together.
It's an easy dish to create because one can use a commercially made red curry paste. Jars and cans of this spice paste are sold in supermarkets, Asian food stores and specialty markets.
I like the added oomph that stir-frying the beef with garlic and mushrooms gives the finished dish.
If you are pressed for time, or unwilling to dirty a second pan, poach the raw beef slices in the curry sauce until just cooked through.
Substitute pork, chicken, shrimp, crab or tofu for the beef; adjust cooking times accordingly.
Try a green, yellow or massaman curry paste instead of red.
Beverage suggestion: A crisp riesling or pinot blanc is refreshing. The acidity of these wines balances the richness of the curry. Sparkling water with lime is a good nonalcoholic drink.
Tip: Cut the meat along its segmentations, then thinly slice each segment before cooking. Nameko mushrooms are used in Japanese cooking and may be found in Asian stores and specialty markets. Substitute with the mushroom of your choice. Serve with steamed white or brown rice.
THAI RED CURRY BEEF
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 green onions, minced
• 1 1/4 pounds sirloin tip steak, sliced
• 1 package (4 ounces) nameko mushrooms
• 1/4 tablespoon red curry paste
• 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
• 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
• 1 each, sliced: red bell pepper, onion
• 1 serrano chili, minced
• 2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil
Heat oil over high heat in a wok or large skillet. Add garlic and green onions; stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef; stir-fry 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms; stir-fry 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon to a bowl.
Add curry paste to wok; cook, stirring, over medium heat, 30 seconds. Stir in fish sauce. Stir in coconut milk. Add bell pepper, onion and chili. Reduce heat to low; simmer until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Add the beef and mushrooms and any meat juices. Simmer 5 minutes. Garnish with basil.
Makes 4 servings.
• Per serving: 621 calories, 54 percent of calories from fat, 36 g fat, 24 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 24 g carbohydrates, 45 g protein, 842 mg sodium, 9 g fiber