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Siam Garden Thai Beef Curry

Craig's version borrows from Lawan and Thai Table, but what he is really after is the taste of the Thai beef curry we used to get at a restaurant called Siam Garden many years ago. Like Lawan's soup, this recipe requires exotic ingredients. Craig likes to make it HOT. He serves it with a sauce he calls you-chew-you-through sauce, which is what the waiter at the Siam Garden told him once, when bringing him the hot sauce they used to make there.


1 lb. beef cut in thin strips
1 can coconut milk*
3-4 shallots, minced
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1 cup mild peppers, finely julienned
1-2 stems lemon grass, thinly sliced
shaved fresh ginger
T. minced galanga root
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 tsp. sugar
2 T. fish sauce
3-4? red Thai chili peppers
1-2 tsp. oil
Thai basil

First make a paste by grinding fresh or dried red Thai Dragon peppers with oil. Combine all the other ingredients except the Thai basil in a pan and then stir in the paste. The amount of paste is what's tricky. A tablespoon? Thai Dragons vary in heat (ranging from, say, deadly to murderous), and different people have different tolerance to heat. It should be a bit of a challenge to eat this dish; it's a shame to make it too mild. You need that taste of the chilis to make it as good as it should be. Heat the curry until the coconut milk comes to a slow boil and cook 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the basil after you shut off the heat.

Serve with steamed fluffy rice, you-chew-you-through sauce and Kleenex. You-chew-you-through sauce is made by adding red and green sliced peppers to fish sauce plus a little sugar.

*Craig says that light (or "lite") coconut milk does not work.


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