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Martin Boetz: Red curry of beef with green peppercorns, wild ginger and holy basil

You'll need

150 gm coconut oil 1 kg boneless Angus beef short rib, cut into 4cm pieces 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock, brought to the simmer 300 ml coconut cream, brought to the simmer 50 ml fish sauce, or to taste 1 tbsp shaved light palm sugar, or to taste 1 tbsp wild ginger (see note) 3 kaffir lime leaves, torn 1 long red chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced 1 stalk fresh green peppercorns ½ cup each (firmly packed) holy basil and Thai basil leaves To serve: steamed jasmine rice, and kaffir lime leaf and long red chilli, each cut into julienne   Red curry paste 1 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 4 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned 20 gm (4cm piece) galangal, thinly sliced 50 gm smoked trout, coarsely flaked 10 long dried red chillies, seeds removed, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, drained 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, thinly sliced 1 tsp dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, drained 1 tbsp roasted shrimp paste 1 tbsp white peppercorns, coarsely ground   Cucumber relish 200 ml rice vinegar 150 gm caster sugar 2 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned 1 pickled garlic head (see note) 1 Lebanese cucumber, diced 23 gm (5cm) piece of ginger, cut into julienne 1 red shallot, thinly sliced ½ long red chilli, seeds removed, cut into julienne ½ cup (loosely packed) coriander leaves


  • 01
  • For red curry paste, pound onion, garlic, coriander roots and galangal in a large mortar and pestle to a coarse paste, then transfer to a food processor. Pound remaining ingredients (except peppercorns) with 1 tbsp sea salt to a coarse paste, then add to processor and process to a smooth paste, stir through pepper. Makes 250ml.
  • 02
  • For cucumber relish, combine vinegar, sugar, coriander root and garlic in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, remove from heat, strain and cool to room temperature. Combine cucumber, ginger, shallot, chilli and coriander leaves in a bowl, add vinegar mixture and set aside. Makes about 300ml.
  • 03
  • Melt coconut oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat, add curry paste and 1 tsp sea salt, stir until fragrant and roasted (10-15 minutes). Add beef, cook until sealed (2-3 minutes). Add stock and coconut cream, cook until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Season to taste with fish sauce and palm sugar, cook over low heat until meat is tender (2½-3 hours), adding more stock if necessary. Add wild ginger, lime leaves, chilli and peppercorns and season to taste – it should be hot, salty and sweet. Add basil, simmer for 5 minutes, then serve scattered with kaffir lime and chilli, with steamed rice and cucumber relish to the side.
Note Wild ginger is known as krachai in Thai and is available in jars. Pickled garlic is also available in jars from Asian grocers.

This recipe is from the November 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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2006 Curly Flat Pinot Noir from Victoria.

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