Today’s world food that you can prepare at home is a Thai Beef Curry with crunchy red peppers and snow peas. As Thai food goes, this is one of the spicier recipes that you will find on Chop Onions, Boil Water. It’s good though and it is even better the next day as a leftover!
My own introduction to Thai cuisine came in the early 1980’s when I was invited to join some friends for dinner at a newly opened (and rare at that time) Thai restaurant. My friends had spent a great deal of time in Thailand and one, Al, had fallen in love with and married a Thai girl named “Tim”. They were all excited to finally be able to get their favorite Thai dishes so close to home. It was a long time ago, but I remember how happy Tim was to be able to speak her native language to the wait staff and she insisted on ordering for everyone in her native tongue. It was a great night of food, friends and fun (the three F’s) and I experienced a number of firsts that night. Thai beer, spicy squid curry and mango with sweet rice were among them.
After that night, I always used to talk to Al about all the different foods, vegetables and fruits he had tried in Thailand. His descriptions of many things were the first accounts I had heard about those foods. Things like fish sauce, durian, mangosteen, phad thai and some dishes of raw pork with extremely spicy chilies are among the ones I can recall. Though common and well known now, they were all very foreign and exotic to me at that time. This was before the internet kiddies and lots of things took trips to the bookstore or library to research in the old days!
Suffice to say, that introduction to Thai food all those years ago turned me into a fan. Subsequently, it also turned my wife and kids into Thai food fans. Barely a week goes by that I don’t prepare something Thai for dinner. We eat Thai so often that when I put rice out for any dinner be it Italian, Mexican, Portuguese, etc. my 4-year old daughter will always ask “Is it sticky rice daddy?” You cannot imagine her disappointment when it is not. You also can’t imagine how much she talks about sticky rice and why she likes it better than whatever rice we may be eating during that dinner. Yup, from the beginning to the end of dinner… “Daddy, I like sticky rice because it’s good and fun…”, “This rice is red….”, “When are we having sticky rice again?” I remember when I was a kid and we got one kind of rice: Minute Rice! At least some things have changed for the better!
Again, this dish is very spicy. If you’re looking to tame it down, back off on the red curry paste or use a milder type of curry paste. You can also curb the ginger a little bit to take the heat down. Me? I like it spicy and hot. I just use more sticky rice* to temper the heat. Al and Tim taught me that over twenty years ago!
Thai Beef Curry with Red Pepper and Snow Peas
2 TBS peanut oil
2-2.5 lbs. sirloin tips
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1/2 cup fresh ginger (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
3-4 tsp. Thai red curry paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
2 TBS fish sauce
4 ozs. snow peas
1 large red bell pepper (cut into matchstick-sized pieces)
1 lime (zest grated and then the fruit cut into wedges)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1/4 cup basil (julienned)
Rice or noodles
Prepare the rice (I use Thai sticky rice*) or noodles (I use udon) while you do the following:
Season the sirloin tips with salt and pepper to taste. Cook them in your broiler to desired doneness. Remove from the broiler. Allow them to cool about 10 minutes and then cut them into 1-1/2″ pieces and set aside in a covered plate (reserve any juices).
Place a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the peanut oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and cook until just tender and lightly browned
Add the ginger and continue cooking, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.
Stir in half of the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Add half the coconut milk, stirring until the curry paste has blended in completely.
Stir in the remaining coconut milk and chicken broth. Add the fish sauce and simmer stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.
Add the sirloin tips (and any collected juices), snow peas and the red pepper and cook stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes. You want the snow peas and red pepper to remain slightly crunchy and the meat to just reheat.
Portion rice*/noodles into individual bowls and ladle the beef curry over it. Sprinkle with the cilantro and basil and serve with the lime wedges.
*If using sticky rice serve it as a side dish. Roll the rice into balls and dip into the curry.