Introduction: Red Curry and Beef

About: I like wood carving, cooking, tea, and books.

Do you like curry? No? You will. Enjoying curry is now mandatory. But don't worry! To help you comply with recent curry-related legislation, I am making this I'ble to show people how easy it is to make curry. Contrary to popular belief, it's pretty simple.

Step 1: Gathering the Ingredients

Here's everything you'll need for this recipe. Many of the ingredients are just things you'll likely have anyway. Others are things you'll need to go on an epic quest for.

For the red curry paste

  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Some dried red thai chile peppers (these can be hard to find. Jalepenos can make a decent substitute, however.)
  • The grated peel of 1/3 of a lime. (just take a lime, and rub it on a cheese grater until 1/3 of the skin is gone. Try not to get any of the actual fruit in there. We just want the peel.
  • 1/2 stalk of lemon grass, thinly chopped.

For the beef stir fry

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil (I'd go with the peanut oil, but if you don't have it on hand I wouldn't go to too much trouble to get it.
  • 3 tablespoons of red curry paste (the above measurements for the curry ingredients should be enough, if not a little more than enough.
  • 12 oz lean beef, cut into cubes, or strips.
  • The other half of that stalk of lemon grass you used for the curry.
  • 4 oz green beans, but into small pieces, around 1-2 inches long.
  • 4 tablespoons of roasted peanuts. Make sure this is the kind without any salt.
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper (cut it open and remove the seeds unless you want your tongue to catch fire. While cooking this, my sous-chef Jared, and I dared each other to eat a cluster of jalapeno seeds each, and the results were, while amusing, probably not what you're looking for in a meal. It'll already be fairly spicy on account of the curry. If you really like spicy things, go ahead and keep the seeds.
  • 2 teaspoons of palm sugar (hard to find and somewhat expensive. If this isn't an option use a teaspoon of brown sugar.)
  • Anything that you feel might make the stir fry better. Stir fry is a really fun food to cook because it's so open ended. I used onions, carrots, and baby corn for my stir fry, and it came out great.

Step 2: Making the Curry Paste

You're going to want to make the curry paste before you make the stir fry. If you decided to add steamed rice to your stir-fry, you should start boiling it now if you want it to be ready when you add it in.

Take a small cooking pot and put it on the stove until it's fairly hot. Dump in your coriander and cumin seeds and allow them to heat up until they begin to give off a delicious smell and you see a little smoke float into the air. This should smell a little like the seeds are burning (because they are) and should burn your nostrils a little bit (in a good way, if that makes any sense.)

Dump the seeds into a mortar and pestle with the black peppercorns and grind away. If, like me, you don't own a mortar and pestle, now's your time to shine! Get creative. I wound up using a glass bowl and one of those 10 inch-long bats they sell at baseball games. While this probably wouldn't fly at an actual restaurant, it's fine for now.

Now, dump in all the aforementioned ingredients for the curry and grind away until you get a dry paste. If you have any extra you can put it in a mason jar and keep it in your fridge for up to a month.

Step 3: Stir the Fry

Make sure all the other ingredients are prepared ahead of time. You could risk burning the stir-fry if you need to take time to chop up your vegetables or some other ill timed task. Make sure all vegetables are diced the way you want,

In a pan (or a wok, if you're super-fancy) plop down at least three table spoons of the previous curry concoction. You can add more, of course, and I did. It just makes the stir fry taste more intense. Make sure to stir the curry thoroughly (that rhymes)

Add the beef cubes and the chopped lemon grass together. Fry until the beef is a light brown, and toss in your green beans and other vegetables (Excluding rice and chili peppers. Hold off on that for now.) Continue frying until you feel the veggies are done well enough.

Mix in those peanuts, and any chili peppers you want to add.

Continue stirring for a minute or so, and mix in your palm sugar. Continue to stir and to fry your stir fry until it's at its peak of deliciousness. Mix in rice if you want and consume. Enjoy.

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