I don't know about you but I'm getting pretty fed up with this summer's heat. This year's propagation of heatwave after heatwave has me staring at my suitcase, ready to pack my bags for Siberia. I'm looking forward to the days when I can comfortably make hot chocolate, slip on a thick wool sweater and snuggle with my little one without the sticky perspiration between us. Most of all I'm looking forward to that day in early autumn when I pull down my cast iron pot and instead of shooing away the heat, we huddle around the kitchen for warmth that reminded us of how good we had it this summer.
Okay that last part may never happen but I'm looking forward to cooler days and heartier meals such as this Thai red curry beef dish that isn't quite light enough for summer nor is it heavy enough for winter but somewhere in a happy medium where I'd like to be right now. It is a flavorful dish with a wide spectrum of notes from lime, spicy curry to pungent onions and herby basil. The fish sauce gives the dish depth and an extra dimension of umami, while the creamy coconut milk rounds out the strong flavors and adds a bit of weight to the sauce.
Thai Red Curry Beef with Mushroom Red Bell Pepper and Basil
Slightly adapted from The Perfect Pantry
- 1 lb ground beef (93% lean)
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce (I use Three Crabs brand)
- 1 small bunch of scallions (6-8), thinly sliced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 4 large white mushrooms, sliced
- A scant 1/4 cup Massaman curry or red Thai curry
- 6 oz coconut milk (I use Native Forest)
- 2 teaspoon basil, roughly chopped
- In a wok or deep frying pan set over medium heat, brown the beef, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks. (Don't add any fat to the pan; the meat will render enough fat to cook.)
- In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, brown sugar and fish sauce, and set aside. When the beef is browned, raise the heat to medium-high, and add the scallions, red bell pepper and mushrooms to the pan. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, until the pepper is just warmed through. Add the curry paste to the wok, and stir for 1 minute. Then, pour in the coconut milk, and stir to combine. Let the dish simmer for 1 minute, and pour in the fish sauce mixture. Stir for 1 minute. Serve over rice or lettuce leaves. Garnish with basil, and serve hot or at room temperature.