Category Archives: Beef

Peanut Panang Beef Curry

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Peanut Panang Beef Curry

The thing I love most about Thai cooking (other than devouring the end result) is how incredibly easy it is. Very few recipes call for techniques more advanced than basic knife work, mixing, and stir-frying.

Maybe that’s why I never really got into French cooking; it’s simply too much work! Plus I don’t like French food.

Once you have the basic methods down for making a stir-fry, soup, fried rice, and curry you can exercise your own creative tendencies and make just about anything you like.

The majority of recipes calling for curry paste can easily be adjusted to accommodate whichever kind you have in your cupboard. I try to keep five different varieties on hand: Red, Green, Yellow, Massaman, and Panang.

This Peanut Panang Beef Curry is delicious, simple, and richly satisfying.

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While I’ve listed traditional Thai ingredients below, I’ve also included substitutions for those without access to all of the items listed.

You’ll want to serve this dish with rice to soak up all of the peanutty-goodness, so be sure to get a pot going before you start on the beef as the curry comes together very quickly. See my tip below about using the leftover coconut milk to make the rice! A green salad on the sides makes this a complete meal.

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. coconut milk, divided*
  • 2 Tbsp. Panang curry paste**
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. palm sugar***
  • 3 wild lime leaves****
  • 1/2 lb. boneless beef (such as tri-tip), very thinly sliced crosswise into 2-inch strips
  • 3 Tbsp. ground peanuts*****
  • 1/4 c. basil leaves, preferably “Thai” or “Holy” basil, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Pour a half cup of coconut milk into a wok or skillet set over medium-high heat. Once hot and foaming, add the Panang curry paste and use the back of a wooden spoon to break apart any large chunks. Stir the curry paste and the coconut milk until fully combined.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the coconut milk as well as the water, fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime leaves. Let simmer for a few minutes then add the thinly sliced beef and stir.
  3. Cook the beef, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the ground peanuts and reduce the heat to low. Stir to combine the peanuts with the curry.
  4. Just before serving, turn off the heat and remove the wild lime leaves. Add the basil leaves and stir. Serve with rice.

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*When I have a recipe that calls for just part of a can of coconut milk, I like to use the leftovers to replace part of the water used to make rice. It really adds delicious flavor and texture to the rice and keeps me from finding wasted Tupperware containers of coconut milk in the back of my fridge.

** Substitute red curry paste or Massaman curry paste if you don’t have Panang.

*** Use brown sugar if you don’t have palm sugar.

**** Wild lime leaves make all the difference in the world, but the curry will still taste delicious without them. If you can’t find any, substitute 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice.  If using lime juice instead, add it at the very end along with the basil.

***** I threw some peanuts in my food processor until ground, but you could also use regular peanut butter.

Nutrition (per serving):

292 calories, 22 g. fat, 15 g. protein, 12 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 8

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Thai Beef Skewers & Fava Beans

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Thai Beef Skewers & Fava Beans

While I was walking around at the Farmer’s Market a little pint sized carton of something green caught my attention and begged to be taken home. They were labeled as Fava Beans, and while I knew I had heard of them, I have never seen nor tried these huge green pods.

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They were so bright green I just couldn’t help myself. I have a problem with bright green objects. Left to my own devices, everything in my kitchen and closet would be BRIGHT green. My fiesta ware is bright green. My stand mixer is bright green. My mom even knew to choose bright green when picking out my awesome new immersion blender! I can’t help myself… I just LOVE it.

favas2So beautiful! Once we got home I had to look up Fava Beans to figure out what I was supposed to do to them – and I’m really glad I took the time to do a bit of googling. I was planning on just sauteeing them in butter, assuming they were just like regular legumes on steroids, but it turns out they require a bit of work. Once you open the pod you’ll find little light-green pea-like thingies (that’s a technical term), which then have to be peeled to reveal the darker green fava beans. That’s right, these babies have to be peeled TWICE. Everything I read on the google told me that I needed to boil them then dunk them in a cold water bath and peel them one by one, but I am way too lazy for that and the husband was getting hungry.

I was planning on putting together some Thai Beef Skewers (I’m obsessed with kebabs lately), so I figured that since I would already have the grill going I could save some effort by cooking these big guys alongside the meat. I tossed them in some delicious lime-Riesling grapeseed oil and honey-ginger vinegar from this seriously addictive and paycheck-sucking store called (surprise) “Oil & Vinegar.” I guess it’s a franchise because they have locations all over the country – beware, EVERYTHING they have in that place is delicious. You could always use whatever types of oil and vinegar you have on hand, and perhaps add some herbs or spices to mix things up. As long as you have a mix of something fatty and something acidic, these will turn out just fine. I also sprinkled on some sea salt which was an awesome idea (if I may say so myself), because we ended up eating these with our hands like edamame so the delicious salt and flavors go transferred from our fingers right to our tastebuds. Yum.

I marinated the beef skewers in oil, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger, sugar, and pepper. The beef hung out in the fridge for 30 minutes while I prepped the grill and fava beans, then everything went on to the BBQ all at once. I kept the fava beans in a cast iron skillet so they didn’t get sacrificed to the BBQ gods, as so frequently happens in my life.

favas4The fava beans steamed themselves in their own little big pods and got some nice color on the outside. I kept the grill lid closed to make sure the precious steam didn’t sneak out too much.

favas7I served these up in little bowls along side the beef skewers and it was hard to say which component was the star of this dinner and a show. I adored the fava beans and thought it was a hoot to get my hands all messy while we watched Hell’s Kitchen.

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The husband completely freaked out about the beef skewers. No joke, I made seven skewers and he ate FIVE of them. Which left me with two. Which was fine because I consumed about 80% of the fava beans.

favas6I can’t even describe to you how tender and delicious this was. Of course, it was cold by the time I ate mine because I was too busy trying to force my iPhone to take a decent picture in bad lighting, but that’s the price I pay sometimes. Even cold, this beef was AWESOME. I sliced it thin and weaved it on to the bamboo skewers so it cooked in a flash and had tons of flavor. I’ll admit, I was a little concerned that the beef wouldn’t turn out that great, considering it had been sitting in my freezer for a looooong time, but the marinade worked its magic and made it oh-so-tender.

favas3Of course, there’s not much in my world that doesn’t taste better with a little sweet chili sauce, so I made sure we had lovely little side dishes of that sweet, sticky goodness.

This was so delicious, I really can’t wait to make it again. Did I mention that the husband ate FIVE whole skewers? I hope he doesn’t read this.

Right, well here’s the recipe:

Makes: 3-4 servings (6-8 kebabs)

Ingredients:

[for the Thai beef skewers]

  • 1 1/2 lbs. beef sirloin, fat trimmed and sliced into 1/4-inch thick strips
  • Bamboo Skewers
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

[for the fava beans]

  • 4 cups fava beans (or however many you can get your hands on)
  • 2 Tbsp. oil (or enough to lightly coat the beans)
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar (or lime juice)
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix together the oil, soy sauce, lime juice, minced garlic, minced ginger, sugar, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the sliced beef and refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pre-heat your grill to medium-high heat and place a cast iron skillet on the grates for the fava beans.
  3. Toss the fava beans with oil and vinegar and sprinkle with sea salt. Once the cast iron skillet is hot, add the fava beans and cook with the grill lid closed for five-ten minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, skewer your beef and try to keep as much surface area exposed as possible (don’t squish the beef onto the skewers, you want the sugar in the marinade to come into contact with your grill and caramelize).
  5. Cook the beef for 8-10 minutes with the lid closed, turning once. When you turn the meat, give the fava beans a little stir to ensure they brown evenly.
  6. Remove everything from the grill and serve the skewers with sweet chili sauce. Make sure to bring a bowl for discarded fava bean pods, and don’t forget to lick your fingers as you go.

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Nutrition (1/4th of recipe):

452 calories, 20 g. fat, 28 g. protein, 28 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 12