Thai Beef Red Curry

Thai beef red curry
Don Bayley/E+/Getty Images
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 (with rice)
Ratings (6)

This Thai beef curry recipe can be made with beef, lamb or even bison. Because the curry sauce is made from scratch, it's always fresh-tasting and healthy. It's also a surprisingly simple curry to put together, and very flexible, too. One option is to add your choice of vegetables - instead of potatoes, eggplant works well in this curry, as does okra. And for those who like their beef tender, there is a tip at the bottom of the recipe that will help you achieve very tender results. Hope you enjoy it!

What You'll Need

  • 2 6 to 8-ounce sirloin beef steak (or bison steaks or equivalent, cut into thin strips or small bite-size chunks)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (chopped)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 lime leaves (or substitute bay leaf)
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick or 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup tomato (diced)
  • 1-2 potatoes (medium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed (whole)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • For the Curry Sauce:
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (fresh, finely sliced, or 2-3 tablespoons frozen prepared lemongrass)
  • 1 piece galangal (thumb-size or fresh ginger, sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1+1/2 teaspoons shrimp paste
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup (or 2 tablespoons tomato paste/puree + 1/4 teaspoon sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander (ground)
  • 3 teaspoons cumin (ground)
  • 1 teaspoons soy sauce (dark)
  • 1-2 red chilies (fresh minced, or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (brown)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2/3 can coconut milk (reserve remaining 1/3 for later)

How to Make It

  1. Combine all 'Curry Sauce' ingredients together in a food processor or blender, and process until well blended. Set aside.
  2. Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl around to coat, then add onion and garlic. Stir-fry 1 minute, then add the beef and stir-fry 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add prepared curry sauce, lime leaves, and cinnamon stick. Stir well and bring to a gentle boil (if it's too thick, add 2-4 tablespoons water or stock).
  1. Reduce heat to medium-low, so curry is gently simmering. Cover and simmer 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes and whole cumin seed and continue simmering until potatoes are soft enough to pierce with a fork (about 10 minutes). Finally, add the tomatoes and simmer until everything is well cooked (5-7 more minutes).
  2. Reduce heat to low and add the last 1/3 can coconut milk, stirring to incorporate. Taste-test the curry. If not salty or flavorful enough, add a little more fish sauce. If you'd like it sweeter, add a little more sugar, or add more chili if you'd like it spicier. If too salty or too sweet, add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.
  3. Serve with plain Thai jasmine rice and enjoy!

For More Tender Beef: My husband likes the beef on the chewy side, whereas I like mine very tender. If you're a fan of tender, here's an extra step that's well worth the effort: Instead of slicing the beef, place the whole piece(s) in a pot and cover with beef or chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes to half-an-hour. Then slice it up (I use kitchen scissors for this) into chunks and start the recipe (as written above) from here. The beef will turn out much more tender this way. I also pour a little of the cooking stock into the curry for extra flavor. Hope you enjoy it!

Other Vegetables that Work Well in this Curry: eggplant chopped into bite-size chunks, green beans, and okra.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 572
Total Fat 26 g
Saturated Fat 15 g
Unsaturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 39 mg
Sodium 1,035 mg
Carbohydrates 70 g
Dietary Fiber 9 g
Protein 20 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)