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Witbier Thai Red Curry Beef with Basil

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Few ingredients are as transformative as Thai curry paste and Asian fish sauce, both of which deliver magical complexity with just a spoonful. A Belgian witbier may seem the most illogical of compatriots, but here it adds citrus notes to underscore the squeeze of lime that finishes the dish. This dreamy, creamy curry bears the five hallmarks of Thai cuisine: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy. But curries are as personal as food comes, so if my Thai isn’t exactly your Thai, tweak the flavors so they work for you.

Makes: 4 servings

  • 1 pound flank steak, halved lengthwise
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk, unshaken
  • 3 tablespoons witbier
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 5 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
  • 4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 2 cups prepared jasmine rice
  • 13 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped


1. Freeze the steak 20 minutes (freezing makes the steak easier to slice thinly).

2. Meanwhile, heat a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Spoon the thick coconut cream from the top of the can into the pan; add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant and beginning to dry, about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the remaining coconut milk, beer, peanut butter, fish sauce, and brown sugar; bring to a simmer. Add the red pepper and onion; stir to coat. Cover and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

4. Slice the steak very thinly across the grain. Add to the pan with the basil. Cook, uncovered, turning the beef often, until just cooked through, but still pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve over jasmine rice; top with peanuts.

PAIR IT WITH: the rest of that sunny witbier, or crack open an IPA; spicy curry can handle big bitterness.


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