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Quick yellow curry with beef

The secret to making this dish quick and easy is using thinly sliced beef and choosing a flavorful but not-too-tough cut so it would not take a long time to tenderize.



  • 1 1/2 pounds (675 g ) chuck top blade steak
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml ) table salt
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons (75 to 90 ml ) yellow curry paste, store-bought or homemade, divided
  • 2 cups (500 ml ) coconut milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (18 g ) finely chopped palm sugar, packed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml ) fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml ) tamarind paste, store- bought or homemade
  • 10.5 ounces (300 g ) waxy potatoes, such as new or red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 medium (120 g ) yellow onion, julienned
  • 3/4 cup (100 g ) halved cherry tomatoes
  • Jasmine rice, for serving


  1. Slice the steak into one-eighth of inch pieces, removing any silver skin on the exterior (the little strip of connective tissue running through the middle of the steak is fine to leave ).
    Place the beef in a medium pot and add just enough water to submerge it. Add the salt and one tablespoon of curry paste and stir to mix; bring to a simmer over high heat. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until fork-tender. The timing will vary if you use a different cut of meat. Skim off any scum that floats to the top.
  2. While the beef cooks, make the curry sauce. In a medium pot, bring a three-quarter cup of coconut milk to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the remaining curry paste and stir to mix well. Turn the heat down to medium and stir frequently until the mixture is very thick and the coconut oil separates from the paste, about 5 minutes (the oil may not separate depending on the coconut milk you’re using; this is okay ).
    Add the remaining coconut milk, sugar, one tablespoon of fish sauce, and the tamarind paste to the curry. Stir to mix, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the potatoes and onions, and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat while you wait for the beef to be done; the potatoes should not be fully cooked at this point.
  4. Once the beef is tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer only the beef into the curry. Then add only as much of the beef cooking liquid as needed to keep everything barely submerged. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with more fish sauce, tamarind, or sugar as needed. Turn the heat to medium and simmer the curry for another five to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are fully cooked.
    Stir in the tomatoes, turn off the heat, and allow the tomatoes to soften in the residual heat for one to two minutes. Serve with jasmine rice. Enjoy! 

Excerpted from Sabai by Pailin Chongchitnant. Copyright © 2023 Pailin Chongchitnant. Photographs by Janis Nicolay. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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