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Quick Thai Red Curry Beef

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ideal for a weeknight meal, this flavorful curry can be prepared in 20 minutes from start to finish.


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 4 Tbs. corn or peanut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 Tbs. Thai red curry paste
  • 1 lb. beef sirloin or tenderloin, cut across the grain into thin, bite-size strips
  • 2 Tbs. toasted and chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 cup slivered fresh basil, preferably Thai
  • Steamed rice for serving


Make the sauce
In a small bowl, stir together the coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar and lime juice.

Stir-fry the vegetables
Heat a wok or large fry pan over high heat until very hot and pour in 2 Tbs. of the oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and stir-fry just until tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.

Cook the beef
Return the pan to high heat and pour in the remaining 2 Tbs. oil. Add the red curry paste and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the sauce, bring to a gentle boil, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook until the sauce begins to thicken, 5 to 7 minutes. Return the vegetables to the pan, stir in the beef and simmer just until the beef is cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the peanuts and basil, and serve immediately with steamed rice. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Asian, by Farina Wong Kingsley (Oxmoor House, 2007).