I am a list person. List for everything, shopping, books to read, movies to see, an ever growing list of must have cook books, new places to try for Friday breakfasts, to do lists....you name it I probably have a list for it and now all easily accessible on my iPhone, certainly easier than numerous post its and little notebooks lurking in the darkened corners of my handbag.
Another list is recipes I want to try, there is so much inspiration out there; from books to magazines, and of course food blogs, a list was most definitely required. So Friday afternoon at work, after a long week I was thinking an early night and maybe get the weekly supermarket shop out of the way on the way home leaving Saturday with one less chore. However it had been such a busy week I hadn't even had a chance to think what culinary creations I wanted to make on the weekend let alone a shopping list. You see that's where the "things I want to cook" list comes in to its own. A quick glance and this curried beef stew from Bon Appetit just jumped out at me. I had seen it a month or so ago and all the spices and aromatic flavours; guajillo chilli, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime, made me want to just dive in to a bowl full of it.
Add to that there is something especially comforting about a curry that has been made from scratch, from the pounding of all the herbs and spices to a paste to a fragrant pot simmering away on the stove. This one didn't disappoint, in fact it may well be my new favourite curry.
1 dried ancho chilli, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 lemongrass stalk, sliced
1 tbsp galangal*, roughly chopped (if you can't find galangal use ginger)
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp Thai shrimp paste
500g/1lb beef chuck, cut into 1.5cm cubes
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 pinch chilli flakes...a little more or less depending on your own heat preference
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced in to rounds
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 cup jasmine rice
1/2 red pepper
1 tbsp rice bran oil or other neutral oil
1/2 tbsp sat
*Galangal is related to cardamom, ginger and turmeric. It is a rhizome from the ginger family an it does indeed look quite like ginger. However, it is more fibrous and dense and has a pine like scent.
Place some warm water in a small bowl and add the dried chilli for a few minutes to rehydrate it. Drain and place it in a mortar along with the salt and pound it with a pestle until you have a rough paste. It will take a few minutes of vigorous pounding. Then add the other one by one give them a good pounding before adding the next one. Cover and chill. The paste can be made up to a week ahead and kept covered in the fridge.
Pile the rice in to bowls, top with the beef curry and scatter over some coriander, basil and slices of fresh chilli for a little freshness. So full of flavour, so rich and deep. This one has that wonderful savoury unami in spades. The beef is tender and fragrant from all the spices, meanwhile a little fresh chilli heat along with aromatic coriander and basil adds a welcome freshness.
More from food