Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beef with Kaffir Lime Leaf


This is one of those surprise recipes that emerged from what I had on hand and turned out both delicious and beautiful, much to my surprise. It's a hybrid of a few of my favorite Thai recipes. If you're able to find Kaffir lime leaf, you can keep it in the freezer and it still tastes great. In fact, many Asian groceries keep it in the freezer already. Thai basil is optional, but I had some on hand (if you leave it out, use more lime leaf).

1.5-2 lb. ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 hot Thai peppers, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced (optional but pretty)
4-6 Kaffir lime leaves, julienned very finely
1 small handful Thai basil leaves, chopped (optional)
1tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
a couple of dollops of oyster sauce
4 green onions, cut into 1" pieces
oil for cooking

Brown the meat in a frying pan and break it up as finely as possible. (OR if you have a pressure cooker, cook it for 12 minutes--this makes it extra tender). Place a colander over a bowl and dump the meat into it, reserving the juices.

Add some oil or fat from the beef to the pan and heat it to medium-high. Add 3/4 of the garlic and chilies and fry them until they brown lightly, loosening any meat bits off the bottom of the pan.

Return the meat to the pan and add the salt, fish sauce, and oyster sauce, red peppers, and lime leaves, and stir over medium-high for 2-3 minutes. If there's not enough liquid, add back in some meat drippings.

Stir in the Thai basil and green onion and and remaining garlic, adding more oyster sauce if necessary to season. Cook for 1-2 more minutes. Serve over rice.

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