Simple, fast, and delicious, this Thai red beef curry recipe is set to become one of your go-to midweek dinners. It's so easy to make, yet the combination flavours produce a restaurant-quality dish that anyone can make.
So, follow the step by step instructions, look out for my top tips, and enjoy this quick and easy classic Thai beef curry recipe.
Why you'll love this Thai red beef curry recipe
- It's lightning-quick from start to finish.
- All natural ingredients, with a variety of flavours produce a sensational taste.
- This is one recipe that the whole family will love.
- Highly adaptable – you can tweak it to your tastes.
Equipment you'll need for this recipe
There are a few key kitchen items that you'll need to make this recipe:
How to make Thai red beef curry
Sear the rump steak. Set aside.
Fry the onion and garlic until softened.
Add the red curry paste, chillies, lemongrass and lime leaves. Fry for another few minutes.
Add the coconut milk, beef stock, sugar and lime juice.
Add the peas and sweet potato. Stir it and simmer gently until the vegetables are just cooked.
Stir in the sliced beef rump and garnish with fresh chillies, cilantro, and crushed peanuts. Serve with rice. Enjoy!
Don't overcook the beef! Sear it hot and fast, then take it off the heat before it's done. It'll continue cooking in the sauce with the rest of the ingredients in the pan.
What to serve with this Thai beef curry recipe
This Thai red beef curry pairs well with jasmine rice or rice noodles. You can also garnish it with additional fresh herbs, aside from coriander, like Thai basil or mint, to bring a wonderful fragrance and freshness.
A vibrant red with fruity notes is ideal. Go for a Beaujolais, Gamay, or a light-bodied wine like Pinot Noir.
Variations to this recipe
- Feel free to add different vegetables into the mix, such as courgette, green beans, broccoli, red pepper, mushrooms, or bamboo shoots, to customise the curry to your liking.
- Add extra lime leaf if you're a fan of sour flavours.
- If you have lots of free time, you can make Thai red curry paste! It's usually made from a combination of red chillies, garlic, ginger, shallots, shrimp paste, salt, lime leaves, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, and lemongrass.
- You can thicken the sauce and make it extra delicious by adding a tablespoon of coconut cream to the wok after adding the red curry paste.
- Add a splash of soy sauce for a little extra richness.
Popular substitutions for this recipe
- If you prefer fish, replace the beef with white fish and add some fish sauce for extra flavour.
- You can make this Thai red curry a vegan curry by replacing the beef with wild mushrooms or tofu, and the beef stock with vegetable stock.
- When searing the rump steak, do it on a high heat. You want to get that nice brown crust on the outside while keeping the inside rare. It'll continue cooking when added back to the curry.
- Always taste the curry as you're cooking. You must balance sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavours.
What is a Thai red curry?
Probably Thailand's most iconic dish, red curry is made using red chillies. This gives it that fiery, scarlet colour and tongue-tingling heat. Aside from red chillies, Thai red curries typically contain coriander, lime leaves, and lemongrass.
What's the history of Thai red curry?
Red chilli-based curries have been made in Thailand for centuries. It's said that Thai chefs were influenced by Indian spice traders and Buddhist missionaries almost 2,000 years ago. Around this time, spiced dishes that resemble today's Thai red curry first started to appear.
More recently, curry pastes such as 'nam prik', a classic paste made from lemongrass, tamarind, fish sauce, and even more, fish sauce and various spices, became popular across Thailand. They also took further inspiration from other cuisines, including India, Malaysia, and even Portugal, due to visiting Portuguese missionaries in the 19th century.
What's the secret to a good Thai beef curry?
Thai curries are oh-so-simple and taste fabulous. However, a few essentials to get right when making a great Thai curry. They are:
Choose a good cut of beef. See below for my recommendations.
Go for full-fat coconut milk. The flavour and consistency of the curry sauce will be so much better.
Lime leaves and lime juice are essential when bringing acidity to the dish.
You can go for a good quality curry paste. There are some fantastic ready-made curry pastes, which is excellent news for those of us on a busy schedule with so little time! I recommend using Mae Ploy Thai red curry paste.
What's the best cut of beef for a Thai red curry?
For me, rump steak is the best. It's inexpensive, versatile, and excellent for stir-frying.
You can also use beef tenderloin – versatile and great for searing – or flank steak – the most commonly used cut of beef in Asian stir-fries.
Do all Thai curries have coconut milk?
The majority of Thai curries use coconut milk. The amount of coconut milk used differs per recipe. Some call for a lot, for a beautiful creamy sauce, while others need only a subtle flavouring of coconut milk.
What's the best oil to use in Thai curry?
Traditionally, Thai curries have vegetable, coconut, peanut, and soybean oils.
How do you thicken Thai red curry?
Coconut cream is an excellent ingredient for thickening Thai red curries. It helps to achieve a smooth, silky texture without compromising on the critical flavours required for a traditional Thai curry.
However, you can also use cornflour to thicken Thai curry sauce.
How do you store Thai red beef curry leftovers?
Great news... Thai red beef curry tastes even better the next day! I like to make a big batch, more than we need on the first serving, so we have extras for later. Storing leftovers is easy – wait for everything to cool completely, then transfer into an airtight container.
Place the container in the fridge, and you're good to go! Thai red beef curry leftovers will be kept for up to three days.
Can I freeze beef curry?
Yes, you can. Thai curries freeze better than other creamy curries because there's no dairy – only coconut milk.
Place any leftovers in a freezer-safe airtight container. Freeze for up to four months.
More amazing Thai recipes
So, now you're hooked on Thai food? Well, I have some fantastic Thai recipes for you to fall head over heels in love with!
- Thai spring rolls – the perfect deep fried snacks for starters or parties
- Pad ka pow gai – a spicy chicken dish that's so tasty
- Lamb massaman curry – this hearty lamb curry is an absolute marvel
- Whole baked Thai sea bass – sensational flavours that make for a memorable meal