Recipe: Spicy Thai Red Curry

I recently spent a month travelling around Asia, and, experiencing the delights of the grand masters of street cuisine. I love chilli and all things spice and can’t get enough of red curries.

Don’t be afraid of the chilli content, it mellows with cooking and offers a warming, fragrant curry sauce it’s not a vindaloo after all! The ingredient list is quite exhaustive but worth it if you have the time to pick up the odd ingredient that might be missing from your larder.

(Serves 2)


For the red curry paste:
1 white onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 dried red chillies, re-hydrated with boiling water
2 birds eye chillies
2 stalks of lemongrass, stalks cut off
1 Tbsp coriander root
3cm piece of ginger, chopped
1 1/2 Tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted
2 Tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted
1 Tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp ground almonds
1 Tsp shrimp paste
1 Tsp light soy sauce
1 Tsp fish sauce
1/2 Tsp turmeric
1/2 Tsp paprika

For the curry:
Groundnut oil, for frying
1 Sirloin steak
2 Tbsp dessicated coconut
200ml chicken stock
400ml tin of coconut milk
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tsp palm sugar
Juice of half a lime


Begin by making the curry paste, place all of the ingredients into a food processor and add 2 tbsp of cold water, blitz until smooth. If the paste is slightly thick just add a touch more water until you have a curry paste consistency. Set aside.

Trim the fat from the steak and then slice the steak into very thin strips. Season well with salt and white pepper. Place a wok over a high heat and add just over a Tbsp of groundnut oil. Add the steak and sear on both sides before removing with a slotted spoon. Take 100ml of the coconut milk and add this to the wok along with half of the spice paste (store the remaining spice paste in a sterilised jar and refrigerate for up to 3 days). Stir fry well over a high heat frying for a minute or two to release the aromas, then, add the remaining coconut milk, the stock, dessicated coconut, fish sauce and palm sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes and then taste and adjust the palm sugar/fish sauce content if necessary. Add the beef back to the sauce and simmer for 2 more minutes, finish with the lime juice.

Serve the curry immediately with steamed rice and dressed with chopped red chilli and coriander if you like.

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