Total time: Approximately 1 hour.
The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a savory recipe.
1 pound sliced beef
14 ounces (1 can) coconut milk
2/3 cup peanut butter or other nut butter*
1 carrot, sliced or julienned
1/2 bushel of fresh spinach, rinsed well
1/4 cup Thai red curry paste or more to taste
1/4 cup soy sauce (or 2 Tbsp fish sauce)
1/4 cup loose (not packed) brown sugar
1 Tbsp chopped onions (optional)
1 Tbsp vegetable or other oil
* To make your own nut butter, process in a food processor an amount of nuts equal to double what the recipe requires. In this case, I used 1.5 cups of salted, unshelled peanuts, and processed until a smooth paste formed. Some nut butter might require oil (to process and make smooth) and salt (to taste).
This is a stirring-constantly stir fry.
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add onions (it should sizzle) and cook until clear or golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Add sliced beef and cook until brown on all sides, 2-3 minutes. Add curry paste and mix well until all pieces of meat are coated.
Add carrots, coconut milk (remember to shake it before opening it!), and peanut butter. Stir well. Add soy sauce and brown sugar, mix well, and cook until it just starts to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low, cooking until the carrots are tender or desired doneness, 5-10 minutes. If you like your carrots firm, skip the reduction.
Add spinach and stir well until the spinach wilts and is completely covered in sauce.
This is a little more sauce than there is food to coat, so if you have more vegetables, you should probably add them.
The flavor of your red curry paste will vary, so use caution if you don’t like a lot of heat. I never put seafood anything in my curry paste, and I always use the full amount of peppers, because you never know if you’ll get “lame duck” peppers instead of the good hot kind you really want.