While the turmeric-based yellow curry is the most well known curry in the world, green and red curries are equally delicious and fragrant, and hotter than their yellow sibling. Green curry, a Thai variant, is made with green chilies, Thai basil, lemongrass, galangal, and coriander roots and seeds. The exact recipe is not set in stone and may include other spices such as cumin and peppercorns.
Traditionally, green curry paste is made by pounding the ingredients with a mortar and pestle. I’m sure that nothing can ever hold a candle to homemade green curry paste made with the freshest ingredients and, if weren’t such a swelteringly hot summer, I’d make my own. But I like to be in and out of the kitchen as fast as possible these days. Commercial curry paste in vacuum-sealed pouches are widely available and that was what I used for this dish. Some brands taste better than others, some brands are hotter than others, you’ll have to identify which one you like best. Personally, I find that Pentai green curry paste has the right level of heat.
Here’s how I cooked my beef with coconut milk and green curry.
First, I simmered the beef on the stovetop. Stewing beef, of course. With bones? Cuts with bones (short ribs, for example) are always more flavorful. But boneless stewing beef like brisket is just fine. There are cooking options, of course, like using a pressure cooker or a slow cooker but I wanted to squeeze out the flavors from the bones to replenish my supply of broth so I went the traditional long and slow simmer route.
Although eggplants are traditional in Thai curries, for the vegetables, I used potatoes, green beans and upo (bottle gourd) because those were what I had. To add texture to the potato wedges, I pan fried them in hot oil until golden but not cooked through.
Next, the sauce. I sautéed garlic, ginger, shallots and kaffir lime leaves. I added the green curry paste (the amount is always about how much heat you can tolerate) and coconut milk. Then, in went the vegetables, including the pan fried potato wedges, the cooked beef and torn Thai basil. I sprinkled in some salt, brought the mixture to a simmer, turned down the heat, covered the pan and allowed everything to cook in the mixture of coconut milk and green curry paste. It took about ten minutes for the upo and beans to get cooked through. As soon as they were done, the beef with coconut milk and green curry was ready to serve.