Thai Red Curry of Beef

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“I prefer the taste of homemade red curry paste, and the same goes for green curry paste. It is a more authentic flavour, and much more fun to make from scratch in your own kitchen, than to drive to the supermarket to pick up a jar. However, be prepared for lots of chopping! For a change, substitute shrimp for the beef, and add 3/4 cup fresh or canned, drained, pineapple pieces in place of the flaked coconut. Don't forget the basil! If you are accurate in your measurements the curry paste should yield 10 tablespoons - I seem to obtain around 8. The remainder can be stored in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. The recipe feeds 4 people if other Thai dishes are included in the meal. Adapted from a recipe by Vatcharin Bhumichitr.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • For Curry
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 lb beef steak, thinly sliced (or veal steak)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (Nam Prik Gaeng Daeng paste, see below)
  • 10 ounces coconut cream
  • 34 cup beef stock
  • 1 -2 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (amount per your preference)
  • 2 -3 teaspoons brown sugar (amount per your preference)
  • 2 fresh red chilies, seeded and sliced diagonally (optional)
  • 4 ounces fresh coconut, shavings (optional)
  • 3 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 20 fresh basil leaves
  • For Nam Prik Gaeng Daeng (Thai Red Curry Paste)
  • 6 large dried red chilies, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 34 teaspoon salt (I use less, for preference)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped galangal (substitute fresh gingerroot if galangal is unobtainable)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tender lemongrass
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste


  1. For the Nam Prik Gaeng Daeng paste: In a mortar and pestle, pound the ingredients for the red curry paste in the order listed, adding one at a time. Alternatively, a much easier method is to use a stick-blender. Blend all the paste ingredients together, with a few drops of water, until they form a fine paste.
  2. For the curry: Heat a wok on high, and add the vegetable oil. When hot, stir-fry the beef strips in batches for 1 minute, removing each batch when cooked. Set aside.
  3. Sauté the garlic until golden brown, then stir 2 tablespoons of curry paste into the wok and fry for a few seconds. Add the coconut cream and stir well, bringing to the boil. Add the beef stock, and return to the boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Reduce to a simmer and stir in the Thai fish sauce, brown sugar, chilies, coconut shavings (if using) and baby spinach leaves. Heat gently but thoroughly.
  5. Just before serving, stir in the basil leaves.
  6. Serve with rice.

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