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06/25/2013

~ Thai Green Curry w/Beef, Bell Peppers & Onions ~

IMG_9089The Thai curry world is a wonderful one and I've decided to spend this last week of June sharing what I know about them with you.  Joe and I love Thai food.  Over the past 20 years I've eaten a lot of Thai food, researched Thai food, and, developed a nice repertoire my own Thai-style recipes.  My Thai obsession started back in 1993 when I became friends with a Home Economist from Thailand.  In the three years that Kanya and her husband Fu lived here in State College, PA, she taught a series of Thai cooking classes, which Joe and I both attended.  She, Fu, Joe and I struck up a friendship, and their world of Thai food became our world of Thai food!  

IMG_8753On Friday I posted ~ Demystifying Thai Curries:  Green, Red & Yellow! ~.  The starting point for every Thai curry is Thai curry paste, and, in Thai cuisine there are three, which are identified by color:  green, red and yellow.  Each one is a pulverized blend of fresh ingredients and herbs, which balances the classic Thai flavors:  hot, sour, sweet and salty.   This post, which can be found in Categories 8, 15 & 16, or by clicking on the Related Article link below, explains in detail how the three differ, and once you understand that, you can mix and match proteins, fruit and/or vegetable with a curry paste to suit you and your family's taste like I do!

IMG_8913Thai curries are quite easy to make and are a staple dish in Thailand. They range in consistency from soupy to slightly stewlike and are ladled over steamed jasmine rice or rice noodles.  In many homes they are eaten on a daily basis and made from ingredients growing around the house.  They typically contain less protein than we Westerners (including me) often add, and, they are an economical, healthy part of the Thai diet!

IMG_9113On Sunday I posted my recipe for ~ Thai Yellow Curry w/Shrimp, Scallops & Pineapple ~ (pictured just above). Today I'm making my ~ Thai Green Curry w/Beef, Bell Peppers & Onions ~, and, Thursday, I'll be posting my ~ Thai Red Curry w/Chicken, Asparagus & Tomatoes ~. All three of these recipes can be found in Categories 3 & 13, or, by clicking on the Related Article links below!

IMG_8954Curry pastes are traditionally made from scratch in the Thai home kitchen using a mortar and pestle to pulverize the ingredients, which extracts the essential oils and fully develops the flavors.  Let me suffice it to say, a food processor or a blender is not a viable substitute for this ancient tool.  I do have my own recipes for making Thai curry pastes the traditional way, and, I promise to post them in the future!

Nowadays, most busy cooks (Thai cooks included) just purchase high-quality curry paste from their Asian market.  That being said, savvy modern cooks and Thai cooks add a few things to their store-bought curry to brighten up and personalize the flavor, which is what I'm doing today, and beef, with it's full flavor, is a great complement to my chunky, spicy and sweet green curry!

IMG_8978Try some Thai:  Green Curry w/Beef, Bell Peppers & Onions!

IMG_89894  tablespoons sesame oil

6  tablespoons Thai green curry paste (1, 4-ounce can)

2  tablespoons minced, fresh garlic

2  tablespoons minced, fresh ginger

2-2 1/2  cups 1 1/2" chunked green bell pepper

2-2 1/2  cups 1 1/2" chunked red bell pepper

2 1/2-3  cups 1 1/2" chunked yellow or sweet onion

2  13 1/2-ounce cans coconut milk, well shaken (Note:  Shake can to mix the coconut milk.)

1  tablespoon fish sauce, preferably Squid brand

3  tablespoons Thai seasoning soy sauce, preferably Golden Mountain brand

2  tablespoons palm sugar (light brown sugar may be substituted)

4  kaffir lime leaves

8  cups steamed jasmine rice (4 cups uncooked rice) (1 1/4 cups steamed rice per person)

2  cups whole, unsalted, stir-fried cashews, for accompaniment and garnish

2  tablespoons additional sesame oil, for stir-frying cashews

6  tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves, or 6 fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish

IMG_8995~ Step 1.  Portion and prep the beef:

2  pounds steak, trimmed of any chunks of fat, the highest-quality you can afford, very thinly sliced across the grain no thicker than 1/4" (2 pounds of steak after trimming fat) 

IMG_8789 IMG_8781Note:  My preference for steak in this recipe is tender, well-marbled cuts like Delmonico (rib eye), NY strip, and, yes, even tenderloin works great.  I avoid tough cuts like round or flank steaks.

                                         ~ Step 2.  In a small stir-fry-type pan, place the additional 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and the cashews. Over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a large slotted spoon, stir-fry until the nuts are golden brown.  Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside to drain and cool until serving time.

IMG_8778 IMG_8180~ Step 3.  In an electric rice steamer, steam the jasmine rice according to the package directions. When rice is finished steaming rake through the rice, to separate the grains, and allow to remain in "keep warm" setting until serving time.  

IMG_9006 IMG_9005~ Step 4.  In a 5 1/2-quart chef's pan, stir the sesame oil and curry paste together over low heat.  When the paste begins to bubble and become fragrant, add the garlic and ginger.  Increase heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly until they begin to soften, about 1 minute.

IMG_9017 IMG_9013~ Step 5. Add the chunked bell peppers and onions.

Stir mixture to thoroughly combine.

Increase heat to medium-high.

Stir-fry, stirring constantly, until the vegetables just start to soften, about 3-4 minutes.  

IMG_9037 IMG_9024~ Step 6. Add the sliced beef and stir to thoroughly combine.  

Stir-fry over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the beef is just short of being cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.  Beef should still be slightly pink.  Do not overcook.

IMG_9066 IMG_9040~ Step 7. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, palm sugar and kaffir lime leaves.  Stir to thoroughly combine.  

Adjust heat to a gentle, but steady simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes.

Portion a generous cup of steamed jasmine rice into each of 6 warmed serving bowls, ladle curry over the top.  Garnish with cilantro and stir-fried cashews.  Serve immediately: 

IMG_9129Thai Green Curry w/Beef, Bell Peppers & Onions:  Recipe yields 6 servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board, chef's knife; stir-fry type pan; large slotted spoon; paper towels; electric rice steamer; 5 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides

PICT0047 PICT0042Cook's Note: To learn how to make another one of my curries (and a big favorite of our Thai-eating friends), go to Categories 3 or 13 to find ~ Thai Red Pork Curry w/Steamed Jasmine Rice ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)

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