Kickin’ Up the Curry

Thai cuisine is one of my faves so when I can have it in quick fashion, I’m a happy camper. This Spicy Thai Beef Curry from the Fine Cooking’s Make It Tonight series was just the ticket for a weeknight dinner when I didn’t have a lot of time but craved a flavorful curry dish. Remember, our bodies are not just heavy machines that we tote around with us each day, and our culinary pleasure isn’t just a whim when it comes to the mechanics of eating—curry can be a joy to both eat and behold.


The “spicy” title is a bit of a misnomer. Even though it calls for 1 to 2 teaspoons of red curry paste, almost all of the reviewers commented that they had, or wished they’d had, added more than the directions called for. So, being a connoisseur of all things with a kick, I added a healthy tablespoon full of the flavorful paste, resulting in a robust pungency that was not at all overpowering. If you possess a “delicate palette,” you may want to stick with the smaller amount first time out of the gate.

The directions do not instruct you to, but for a thicker sauce that will cling nicely to the meat and rice, after you remove the meat in Step 5, reduce the liquid over medium-high heat for about 6-8 minutes to thicken, then proceed with the remaining steps.

My only other suggestions would be to use fresh sugar snap peas if you can find them; and incorporate some sweet red bell pepper strips for added color and nutrition, but that’s totally up to you.


Spicy Thai Beef Curry

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 lb. beef sirloin tips
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 2 medium-large)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 to 2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 cup low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 1 13-1/2-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen sugar snap peas
  • 1 large lime, zest finely grated and fruit cut into wedges
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the sirloin tips with salt and pepper and sear the meat in batches until nicely browned on two sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the shallots to the pan and cook until just tender and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minute. Add the ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1/4 cup of the broth, scraping up any bits that are stuck to the pan.
  4. Add 1/3 cup of the coconut milk, stirring until the curry paste has blended in completely. Stir in the remaining coconut milk and broth. Add the fish sauce.
  5. Increase the heat to medium high. Return the beef to the pan (along with any juices), stir, and simmer until the meat is just cooked through, 8 to 12 minute. Remove the meat and transfer to a cutting board. (Here’s where you should reduce the liquid for a thicker sauce.)
  6. Take the pan off the heat. Stir the sugar snap peas into the sauce and cover the pan. Let the meat rest for 1 minute, then slice it thinly across the grain; return it to the pan along with the lime zest. If necessary, return the pan to medium heat until the peas are thawed and  heated through.
  7. Portion the curry into four warm bowls or deep dishes, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve with the lime wedges.


By Joann Smart from Fine Cooking

1 thought on “Kickin’ Up the Curry

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