Thai Red Beef Curry in Sweet Peanut Sauce

I am proud to say that 95% of the time I cook from scratch. The other 5% I cheat just a teeny-weeny bit.

More than 10 years ago I was introduced to Thai food when a Wang Thai restaurant opened in Brooklyn, Pretoria. (It doesn’t exist anymore but has other branches.) It opened my eyes and tongue to a whole new range of flavours and for me the biggest selling points of this cuisine is its use of peanuts and coconut. Since then I’ve been smitten and would gladly visit a Thai restaurant any time.

Now where do I cheat? Uhm…err…ooh, okay, I’ll just spit it out. I use shop bought curry paste instead of making my own which I’m sure will be much better. The problem is if you make a big batch of curry paste you would need to consume it all relatively quickly (which means you’ll get sick of curry) or it will go to waste. So to be ever sensible I pick the easier option of simply buying a small jar at the store. (Barts Red Thai Curry Paste is available in the UK and South Africa.)

What makes this curry a bit different from the standard red and green curries is the addition of ground peanuts which makes the sauce thicker and richer in taste at the same time. Definitely different and well worth the effort!

Download and/or print the recipe! Click HERE.

Thai Red Beef Curry in Sweet Peanut Sauce
Serves 4-6
Preparation: 15 minutes – Cooking Time: 30-40 mins
  • 600ml (1 pint/2 ½ cups) coconut milk
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) red curry paste
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) Thai fish sauce
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) palm sugar or soft light brown sugar
  • 2 lemon grass stalks, bruised
  • 450g (1 lb) rump steak cut into thin strips
  • 75g (3 oz) roasted ground peanuts
  • 2 fresh red chillies, sliced
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • salt and ground pepper
  • fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
  1. Put half the coconut milk into a wok or large pan. Heat the milk gently, stirring constantly, until it begins to boil and separate.
  2. Add the red curry paste and cook over a medium heat until fragrant. Add the fish sauce, sugar and lemon grass.
  3. Continue to cook until the colour of the curry sauce deepens.
  4. Add the remaining coconut milk and bring back to the boil. Add the beef and ground peanuts. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the sliced chillies and torn kaffir lime leaves and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with coriander and serve immediately.
Serving Suggestion

Serve with steamed or boiled white rice.

  • You can grind the peanuts in a coffee grinder or use a pestle and mortar.
  • For a quick alternative, you could use peanut butter, but you will need to reduce the quantity of salt.

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  1. says

    This looks so good! Our favorite Thai restaurant closed. There are others around, but we miss Sam’s restaurant. I’ll have to try your recipe!

  2. says

    Curry and peanut sauce is really an interesting combination. Different herbs also adds up to the wonderful fusion of tastes and flavor. Your pictures are great and wonderful! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  3. maria says

    i make this curry so often because its so easy and quick…i also made it with green thai curry paste with the same method and its turned out amazing too…i use prawns and chicken mostly rather than beef. i found the recipe on the back of the curry paste container some two odd years back!

  4. Álvaro says

    Absolutely no chance of finding coconut milk where I live.

    Is there another way of cooking this delicacy?


  5. Phil says

    Making a thai curry paste isn’t very difficult at all if you have a blender and access to a decent supermarket (which I know everyone doesnt). Barts curry paste for example, which this recipe suggests, isn’t very good and a homemade one will inevitably be much better and fulfilling. Also because of the spices involved with making your own curry paste it will keep in the fridge for weeks so you don’t need to eat curry every day. You could also alternatively keep it in the freezer for a much longer period of time.

    Sure if you don’t have access to anything but the paste then go for it, but really it is much better to always try and make it yourself. It’s not exactly a difficult process and the rewards are worth it. Im assuming people reading the GreedyGOURMET would prize flavour over convenience?

    • says

      You’re right, Phil. Anything freshly home made is the best. Unfortunately, I’m the only person in the house who loves curry and don’t eat it as often as I would have liked to. That’s why I use the ready-made paste and I’m sure there are other people in a similar situation. One day though I’ll make it completely from scratch!

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