Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Build Your Own Dinner

This month’s edition of Fine Cooking magazine has a great section on Thai Curry.  The website also has a tool that will help you build your own Thai Curry recipe.  So, that’s what’s for dinner tonight!
I used Panang Curry Paste, coconut milk, beef, mushrooms, thai eggplant, green beans, kaffir lime leaves and thai basil.  Earlier in the week I looked for panang curry paste at the grocery store and had no luck.  On the way home from work I stopped at the Asian grocery store and found panang curry paste, I grab coconut milk, thai eggplant and thai basil. 
For a long time I would buy the cheapest can of coconut milk on the shelf, until I changed it up a little and bought the most expensive can.  It was worth it, the expensive stuff is creamier and more flavourful than the cheap stuff.  So, look for the can that’s $1.99 instead of $1.00. 
I keep kaffir lime leaves in the freezer and I already had some sliced beef, mushrooms and green beans.  All set to go!  I think I have mentioned before that the best way to tackle a stir fry is to prep all of your ingredient before you ever heat up the pan.  After about 15 minutes of chopping and measuring I was ready to go. 
One thing I will admit is that I don’t think I quite followed the recipe when it came to preparing the curry base.  I doubled the curry paste and I didn’t use chicken broth to thin out the base, but I did add about ½ of water instead.
Here’s the recipe that I built but feel free to visit Thai Curry over at Fine Cooking
Michelle’s Thai Panang Curry
1 13.5- to 14-oz. can coconut milk
1/4 cup Panang curry paste
1 cup lower-salt chicken broth, or homemade chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbs. light brown sugar or light brown palm sugar; more as needed
1 tsp. fish sauce; more as needed
6 whole fresh or thawed frozen wild lime leaves (or substitute 1 tsp. finely grated lime zest)
1 lb. flank steak, strip steak, or sirloin, cut into 1/4-inch-thick bite-size slices
1 cup sliced button or cremini mushrooms (1/4-inch-thick slices)
1 cup bite-size green bean pieces
1 cup Thai eggplant wedges
a drizzle of coconut milk, for garnish
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh Italian or Thai basil leaves, more for garnish

Shake the can of coconut milk or stir it well (this creates a consistent thickness, since the fat often solidifies at the top of the can).
In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan or wok over medium heat, simmer 1/2 cup of the coconut milk, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. It will get very thick and shiny and may or may not separate; either is fine.
Add the curry paste, whisk well, and cook, continuing to whisk, for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth, sugar, fish sauce, and remaining coconut milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Add the green beans, eggplant, and whole lime leaves and continue to simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary. After 2 minutes, add the beef and button mushrooms and continue to simmer until everything is tender and cooked through, about 3 minutes more.
Remove the curry from the heat. Season to taste with more sugar and fish sauce, and add the basil. Transfer to a serving bowl (or serve right out of the pot). Remove the whole lime leaves or tell your guests to eat around them. Garnish with the coconut milk and basil. 

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I would love to hear what you think about what you've read on my blog. Let me know if you plan on trying or have tried a recipe....ENJOY!