An Okie Girl’s take on Coconut Beef Curry ((this is gonna be good…))
If you have been trained in authentic Asian cooking, you may scroll down, scan my recipe and proceed to laugh out loud. Hard. For all I know, the recipe I am about to share it so far from authentic, it should be put into a totally new cuisine category. Either way, this is what I do. Mix, stir, adjust, imagine, taste, try and repeat. My Coconut Beef Curry was absolutely bursting with aromatic flavors. The depth and layers were magnificent. ((not to brag))
I often have people asking “how did you learn to cook??” or “how do you know how to cook the food you make?”. Really, my answer is simple – I like to eat. I mean, I LOVE to eat. ((haha)) Once I discover a particular dish I love ((most likely at a restaurant)), I start imagining how I can make it in my own kitchen. Often, I will read a few dozen recipes relating to that dish. I try to read a mix of recipes, some very simple with few ingredients and others that are intricate with relatively “unheard of” ingredients.
After a bit of daydreaming and some planning, I pull my ingredients and get to work.
Well, that is exactly what I did in this case. A little bit of thinking, a lot of reading & some pantry inventorying ((and stocking)) and I got to work. If you ever see me and think — “she looks zoned OUT!”, please know I am probably daydreaming about food ((or parenting, or gardening, or pets, or the fact that all of the kiddos need new shoes)).
Here are a few of my daydreaming thoughts that were brought to life in this recipe:
- beef – I really like cooking with beef. Especially when I am gone most of the day.
- no peek – my new favorite cooking method. Oh, no — the method is not new. It’s just newly my favorite. I have probably said it with every “No-Peek” recipe I have shared ((click here to see all of them)), but really, no-peek works magic on a meal. I am really beginning to wonder if I can get rid of my slow-cooker!! Can you even believe it??
- carrots and potatoes – work perfectly in a no-peek cooking method and are YUM in a coconut curry.
- coconut milk – HEY!! I have a can of unexpired coconut milk in my pantry!! This recipe idea is MTB (meant to be).
- lemongrass – I have an absolute hoard of lemongrass in my front window box and flower bed. Sure, it has been zapped by the current freeze – but that didn’t make it poisonous. It’s going in the pot!
- spices – time to bring on the spices. I have several curry powders and pastes, garam masala, turmeric. Need: coriander & sweet paprika.
- cabbage – I always ask for an extra serving of cabbage to be added to my curry. And yes, I always get strange looks. Need: cabbage, eating at home – therefore no strange looks!
- cilantro – I love to use coriander in cooking process and cilantro as a finishing flavor. Why? you may ask. Because coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. Isn’t..that..cool?? The circle of life in a no-peek pot! Who could ask for anything more??!!
- tomato paste – not too much, just a spoonful. Then maybe it will magically taste like someone who knew what they were doing made dinner. hum.
- ginger – FRESH ginger. Said in you best James Bond voice. Dried ground ginger is gag, fresh chunks of ginger – is not gag. See, I told you I don’t know what I am doing in the kitchen!!
Now, for an additional cooking treat: ((like four whooping kids, 29 four-legged pets, and a filthy house aren’t fun enough)) I got to assemble this meal around and with 2 carpenters who were repairing a few kitchen drawer and cabinet issues. They got a kick out of watching me photograph this recipe…until I started taking photos of them, haha.
Why did I subject myself to that “fun”? you may wonder. Well, it just so happens, on Tuesdays, I only have 1 hour to make dinner and that one hour comes at about 12:30 pm. The cabinet guys showed up at 12:30pm. Momma has to serve dinner to her chicks – so momma did the 2-step with the carpenters. Wasn’t the first time and probably won’t be the last.
Back to the task building this bounty of Beef Coconut Curry!! Into the pot I threw almost everything. Into the oven the covered pot went. The carpenters left, I picked up my kiddos ((from school)), the spiced perfume of dinner perfection greeted us like a warm hug as we walked in the door, the clock struck 6, the mouse ran down, hickory dickory dock.
In all seriousness, the most important tip I want to share with you regarding this recipe is: ((cause y’all know I am full of important tips!! wink)) Don’t be afraid of the spices! ((But research ratios. All spices are not created equal. Some need to be added by the tablespoon while others need to be added by the teaspoon.))
Now at this point, I was scooping rice and curry into the kid’s bowls. I had every intention of adding chopped fresh cabbage & a heap of cilantro — then the phone rang. It was my Apple point person. Oh dear, I have been battling some computer issues since April. I can’t stand computer issues, so there is no sense in sharing the details – just insert the feelings associated with an ongoing nightmare & you will be on the same page as me.
Well, the phone call lasted 90 minutes. That distraction, caused me to omit cabbage and cilantro ((boo)). So you will not be seeing any photos of curry with cabbage and cilantro. But that won’t keep me from including my thoughts about these ingredients in the instructions. But on a positive note, my computer is working better than it has in months!
- 3 lbs grass fed beef chuck roast, cut into 2" chunks*
- 6 medium potatoes, washed, unpeeled & cut into 2" cubes ((I used russets but should have used Yukon gold's))
- 6 carrots, washed, unpeeled & cut into 2" diagonal chunks
- red onion, cut into 2" chunks
- 1 heaping T curry powder
- 1 heaping T yellow curry paste
- 1 heaping t garam masala
- 1 T tumeric
- 1 heaping T tomato paste
- 2 t ground coriander
- 1 t sweet paprika
- 2 T brown sugar
- 1 heaping T cornstarch
- 1-2 t sea salt
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 1 can coconut milk
- 24 oz chicken broth
- 2, 3" stalks of lemongrass
- 4 1" chunks of peeled ginger
- 2-3 whole garlic cloves
- 1/2 of a small head of cabbage, chopped
- 1 handful of cilantro, chopped ((about 1/2 c)
- Preheat oven to 325°. As you can see in the photos, I added everything to the pot in the sequence listed above. However, I would recommend 2 things: 1) brown the 2" chunks of chuck in the dutch oven by heating 1-2 t oil, place the beef in the heated dutch oven, toss with 2 T of cornstarch & brown all sides. Remove the pan from the heat.
- 2) Combine the spices and liquid in a medium mixing bowl and pour the spiced liquid over the meat, potatoes and carrots.
- Cover and bake at 325° for 4 hours.** Once cooking time is complete, taste to adjust ((add more)) s&p if necessary, add the chopped cabbage and cilantro to the pot, stir and cover for 10-15 minutes to allow the cabbage to steam.
- Serve over rice.
- Serves 6-8
- *I began cooking the entire roast because it was still frozen in the center - but as the cooking went on, I began to regret not cutting the beef into chunks ((and browning it first)). So I removed the pot from the oven, cut the beef into 2" chunks and returned it to the oven. I would never, NEVER recommend doing that. I almost burned myself and it was a mess. However, the meat was much more tender and flavored through thank I had left it whole. I couldn't fix the omission of browning - but wanted to add that step here because I will do that next time for sure. My trial takes away your error!
- **If you need the curry to cook longer ((meaning dinner is 6 hours away etc)), reduce the cooking temperature to 275° and increase cooking time to 6 hours.