The first time I made this in the Dr.’s kitchen, he said after tasting it: Oooh, like bœf bourguignon. While that comment was fine and good, I didn’t spend the effort to cook a French dish; I wanted to make a Thai beef stew. This recipe has been rehashed from that first time and I adjusted the coconut milk (more) and cut down the mirepoix (less). I used more of the Thai spices I bought from Kalustyan’s and was more generous with the galangal and the curry leaves.
1 pound of beef chuck, cubed
1 can of coconut milk
two handfuls of green string beans
4 ribs of celery, chopped
a handful of baby carrots
a handful of dried curry leaves
a handful of Thai basil
a small knob of dried galangal
a small knob of ginger, peeled, minced
1 tbsp powdered lemongrass
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup of beef broth
1. In a large Dutch oven, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Brown beef cubes on both sides and remove to a plate.
2. Using the leftover oil and rendered fat, sauté onions until soft. Add Thai basil, curry leaves, lemongrass, galangal and ginger and keep sautéing until everything is incorporated. Season with some salt.
3. Return the beef to the pot including its juices. Add coconut milk and simmer for 45 minutes, covered. Stir halfway through just to make sure nothing has stuck to the bottom of the pot.
4. After 45 minutes, add 1 cup of beef broth and 3/4 cup of water. Add the green beans, carrots and celery. Cover again and let simmer for another hour or until beef is soft. Stir every now and then and add a small splash of water to make sure it doesn’t dry up. Serve with rice and tell your guests to mind the spice leaves and big chunks of galangal and ginger.