From my King’s Cross Kitchen: A Taste of Thailand

21 August, 2019

Here are two Thai recipes that I’ve been testing for possible working lunches, that also make for a tatsy mid-week dinner – Beef phanaeng curry served with fragrant jasmine rice and spicy carrot and pear som tam. Phanaeng is a type of thick red curry that is typically made with pork, but I made mine with beef, giving it a slightly earthier flavour. My top tip is to make a big batch of curry and freeze some for easy future meals.

Beef Phanaeng Curry
(serves 6-8)


1kg Beef shin – cut into 2.5–4cm (1–1½in) cubes
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
400ml tin Coconut milk
4 Garlic cloves – peeled, crushed flat and chopped
2 stalks of Lemongrass – finely chopped
8 Shallots – finely chopped
4 dried red Chillies – soaked in hot water
160ml Coconut cream
4 Kaffir lime leaves – torn
2 tbsp Fish sauce
1 tbsp of Palm sugar
3 tbsp Tamarind purée
2 tbsp of Phanaeng curry paste – Nittaya is a good brand

To serve / garnish
1 Thai long red chilli – deseeded and finely chopped
Thai basil leaves
1 tbsp of roasted unsalted peanuts – crushed


Heat the oil in a pan and fry the beef in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan to ensure the beef browns on all sides, take the beef out of the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving enough oil to fry the shallots, garlic until  lightly coloured.

Add the coconut cream and gently fry until the oil separates. Add 3 tbsp of the curry paste and fry until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the fish sauce, tamarind and palm sugar. Add the browned beef and simmer on a low heat for 2.5 to 3 hours, until the beef is tender.

Garnish with finely chopped red chilli, Thai basil leaves and roasted crushed peanuts. Serve with rice.



Heritage Carrot & Pear Som Tam
(Serves 4-6)


For the Dressing
3-4 Thai red chillies
2 Garlic cloves – peeled
Juice of 2-3 limes
1 tbsp of Fish sauce
30g dried Shrimp – toasted in a dry pan on a moderate heat until they start to crisp up, save a few for garnish
The juice from 8/10 cherry tomatoes – see below
2 tbsp Palm sugar

For the Salad
4 heritage Carrots – julienned
100g Raw fine green beans or bobby beans – topped and tailed, and cut into 3
1 medium Cucumber – peeled, deseeded and julienned
2 hard Pears – peeled and julienned
8-10 cherry Tomatoes – cut in half and lightly crushed, save the juice and add to the dressing
Thai basil leaves
60g unsalted Peanuts – roasted and crushed


For the Dressing
Pummel the dried shrimp (saving a few for garnish), chillies and garlic into a smooth-ish paste in a pestle with a mortar.

Add the lime juice to the paste, then fish sauce, palm sugar and cherry tomato juice to your taste. You are looking for a good balance of hot, salty, funky, sweet and acid.

For the Salad
Tumble the carrots, cucumber, pears, roasted peanuts, green beans, Thai basil leaves and cherry tomatoes with the dressing. Garnish with more Thai basil leaves, a few crisp dried shrimp and roasted peanuts. Serve.