One of our favorite foodie discoveries in the Denver area has been H Mart, a giant Asian supermarket with so many fun finds. The produce area has banana leaves for steaming, funky varieties of veggies that are really hard to find in average supermarkets like Japanese eggplants and baby bok choy. It has a huge selection of sushi grade fish and varieties of meat that I have only seen on Top Chef, like black chicken! They even have a little bakery inside, Honey Bakery, that seriously has some of the most amazing pastries I have ever had!
Sam and I love taking the occasional trip to H Mart and making a meal with our findings. A couple weeks ago we got to bring our foodie friend Scott there for the first time. We wandered, delighted, up and down every aisle, intent on making a meal completely inspired by our fun finds.
While strolling down the meat aisle, I saw a package of paper thin slices of beef rib eye, the type normally used for pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup in which the beef is sliced so thin that it is cooked simply by pouring hot broth over it. [If you have not tried Pho, do it immediately, it is seriously one of the best things I have ever eaten].
I thought, "Oh, this will cook up quickly. We can make a simple stir-fry out of this." I knew that a stir fry would be good and easy but my heart longed for more. Why settle for the often one-note flavors of a stir-fry when you can have the complex flavors of a Thai curry....acidity, spice, salty-sweetness and a little coconutty-ness? It was then that I remembered that I had a can of coconut milk, some limes and my jar of yellow curry paste sitting at home. What came next was amazing...
Coconut Beef Curry
1 can of coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
1 T soy sauce
1 T fish sauce
1 tsp each of grated ginger and chopped garlic
2 T yellow curry paste, divided
1 1/2 lbs thinly sliced steak
1/2 of an onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced into once inch long pieces
1 T cooking oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 T cilantro, chopped
At least two hours prior to cooking, begin marinating your beef by mixing together the coconut milk, lime juice, soy and fish sauce, ginger, garlic and 1 tbsp of the curry paste in a medium mixing bowl. Add the sliced beef to the bowl, toss to cover in the marinade. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
*The beef I used was similar, in cut, to the really thinly sliced beef that they use to make Philly cheesesteaks. Use whatever beef is available but slice it very thinly. Placing it in the freezer for about half hour before slicing should help firm the beef up enough to get some good slices in. In addition to cooking very quickly and being pretty tender, this cut of beef lapped up the marinade and tasted amazing!
In the last half hour or so of your meat marinating, begin preparing whatever side you would like to serve this with. We served ours with sushi-style rice. It was sticky and stood up SO well to the curry sauce. This dish would be great with any rice, or quinoa or rice noodles.
Slice your pepper, onion, cilantro and green onion because this will move pretty quickly once the meat has marinated.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok over medium heat. While the oil is cooking, strain the marinade from your beef being careful to save approximately 2 cups of the liquid. I did this by placing a colander over a bowl.
Add the beef, pepper and onion to the wok and stir fry until the beef has turned slightly brown and the peppers and onion are a little tender, approximately 5-8 minutes.
The beef will release a lot of liquid from the marinade as it cooks. Once the beef mixture has cooked, remove it from the wok and discard the excess liquid. I used a colander to quickly strain off the extra liquid.
Pour approximately 2 cups of the marinade into your wok. Add the remaining tablespoon of curry paste and let simmer until the sauce has reduced nearly by half.
Once the sauce has reduced, add the beef, onions and peppers into the sauce along with the cilantro and green onion.
Toss to combine and serve!