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Slow Cooker Thai Beef and Peanut Curry
This is a very versatile curry. I tested the recipe using round steak, which became very tender after cooking in the slow cooker. However, if you prefer chicken curry, cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts in large chunks; you may not need to cook the curry as long since the chicken is already tender. Lamb is quite popular in curries also, and if youíre so inclined, you may also substitute lamb for the beef.
A rice cooker is a great time-saving appliance; it allows you to cook rice without having to watch it, and it doesnít burn. This recipe should be served with plenty of Jasmine rice, which goes well with Thai dishes and perfumes the air like no other rice can.
A few notes on Thai ingredients: Most cities have a good Asian market that carries Thai and Vietnamese ingredients. Look through your phone book and call to see if one near you has what you need. You may have to visit a few to find the best one. My favorite Asian market has fresh keffir lime leaves and lemongrass, as well as Thai basil, cilantro, fresh mint, and green papaya all at very reasonable prices. They also carry finely chopped lemongrass which is great for some recipes. Lemongrass is so fibrous, that it works my food processor harder than I like, so I prefer to use the frozen stuff; it saves time too, and who isnít into that. When Iím in the Asian market, I stock up on the keffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and the small red and green hot peppers. Whatever I donít use, I just put in plastic bags and throw in the freezer. They can be used the same as fresh, straight from the freezer.
1 1/2 pounds round steak, sliced 1/4" thick, then into bite-sized pieces
2 red chile pepper, sliced
5 kaffir lime leaves, torn
2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
1 14 oz. can coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped peanuts
2 cups frozen green beans, preferably haricot vert or snake beans
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, rinsed sliced in thin julienne
1 red bell pepper, quartered and sliced
1 green bell pepper, quartered and sliced
Several fresh Thai Basil sprigs
Place the meat, red chile peppers, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass stalks in a 3 quart slow cooker.
Mix the sauce ingredients with a whisk until smooth, then pour over the meat. Sprinkle the peanuts on top. Cover the slow cooker, set it on low, and cook 6-8 hours. When you put the rice in the rice cooker (20-30 minutes before serving), stir in the beans and bamboo shoots. When ready to serve, remove the lemongrass and lime leaves, stir in the red and green peppers, then ladle over jasmine rice. Garnish with the fresh Thai basil. Even though the basil is put on the dish at the last minute, it gives the curry a very distinctive and wonderful flavor. This is one time you need to eat the garnish!
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