Here's another recipe that uses red curry paste, one of my favorite ingredients. In fact, it is probably the most famous use for red curry paste—a luxuriously spiced beef stew with chunks of potatoes.
2 large onions
1-1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons red curry paste
Two 13-1/2-ounce cans coconut milk (do not shake cans)
3 tablespoons soy sauce or fish sauce
Cut onions into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Grate zest from limes. Juice limes; you should have 2 to 3 tablespoons.
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven or flameproof covered casserole over medium-high heat. In batches without crowding, add beef and cook, turning occasionally, until beef is browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer beef to plate.
2. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in pot. Add onions and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add curry paste and 2 tablespoons thick coconut "cream" (the thick liquid that has risen to the top of the canned coconut milk). Mix well and cook for 30 seconds. Return beef and any juices on plate to pot. Whisk coconut milk in cans to combine milk and remaining "cream" and pour into pot, along with soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes.
3. Add potatoes to pot and cover. Cook until both beef and potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes. Add lime zest and juice. Serve hot.
Don't confuse coconut milk with cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez). The former is unsweetened, while the latter is used only for making piña coladas and some desserts. However, the thick, rich paste that rises to the top of canned coconut milk during storage is similarly called "coconut cream." The question is what to buy? The answer is coconut milk.
Add 1 green bell pepper (seeds and ribs discarded, pepper cut into 2-inch long strips about 1/2 inch wide) and 2 finely chopped garlic cloves to the pot with the onion.
The Simpler the Better
Sensational One-Dish Meals
by Leslie Revsin with Rick Rodgers
John Wiley & Sons
$17.95; Hardcover, 239 pages
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created September 2005
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