Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Red Curry with Beef (Gaeng Phed Neua)

Thai Translation – Gaeng = Curry, Phed = Spicy, Neua = Beef

Red curry is a fragrant and creamy curry, hearty and tempting. It is best served with fluffy white rice or sticky rice. You can purchase pre-made curry pastes in most supermarkets which are very good. But they are no substitute for a freshly made paste of your own that can be whipped up in minutes.

Lean beef is an excellent source of protein and other minerals. It is delicious in a curry and when cooked well, it has a delicate mineral taste that goes superbly with a hearty creamy flavours in the curry. The eggplants in this curry are Thai eggplants that are small and round and often described as bitter. There are three main varieties you can use for this recipe –egg size and shaped eggplants (makhue prot), the pea sized eggplant ( makhue puang) which are crunchy and bitter in taste or the purple eggplants or aubergine. Look for the Thai eggplants in Asian supermarkets, but you can use aubergine for this recipe – just be careful about overcooking the eggplant as it can turn to mush.

Cooking Time - 20 minutes
Preparation time - 15 minutes

Serves 4

500ml coconut milk
250g of lean beef in strips
2 tbsp of red curry paste 
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 tbsp thai basil leaf
1 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
3-5 thai eggplants or 1 small young purple eggplant
1 tsp fish sauce

  1. Slice the beef into cubes or thin slices depending on your own preference. Chop the thai eggplants in quarters or the purple eggplant into inch-sized pieces. To stop the eggplant from going brown, place in a bowl and cover with water once cut. Remove the stem from the kaffir lime leaf and tear into pieces.
  2. In a saucepan or wok simmer 2 tbsp coconut milk. When the coconut oil separates from the coconut milk, add the curry paste stirring well.
  3. Cook the curry paste for 1-2 minutes or until it begins to be fragrant.
  4. Add the beef to the curry paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes so that the meat is beginning to change colour.
  5. Add the remaining coconut milk and bring to the boil.
  6. Add the eggplants, kaffir lime leaf, fish sauce and sugar, stirring well to combine.
  7. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for approximately 10 minutes over low to medium heat.
  8. Add basil leaves and turn heat off. Serve with steamed rice.

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