gaeng daeng neua - red curry of grilled beef, squash and Thai basil


gaeng daeng neua

red curry of grilled beef, squash and Thai basil


This is a classic Central Thai style red curry recipe - rich and rounded in seasoning, finished with aromatic Thai basil leaves.

serves 2



For the beef:

rump or sirloin steak - around 200g - 250g.

1 tablespoon of fish sauce.

a pinch of caster sugar.

For the butternut squash:

A large handful of any squash (e.g butternut squash, kabocha squash, acorn squash etc) - peeled and cut into 3 - 4cm sized chunks.

Table salt.

For the curry:

60g of som saa red curry paste.

1 tin of organic coconut milk.

1 tablespoon of coconut oil.

1 level tablespoon (around 15g) of palm sugar - ideally good quality 100% coconut sugar.

2 tablespoons of fish sauce.

75ml of light chicken stock (or use a water and a little stock cube).

4-5 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves, roughly torn.

1 long red or green chilli, sliced at an angle - optional.

1 generous handful of picked thai basil leaves.



Start by poaching the squash: place it in a pan and cover with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt and place the pan on a medium heat. When the water comes to a simmer, turn down the heat to low and cook gently until the squash is just tender but still firm. Drain and set aside.

Now grill the beef: rub the meat with the fish sauce and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Preheat a BBQ or griddle pan, grill the steak to rare / medium rare. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes, before slicing into bite sized chunks against the grain.

To cook the curry: take two tablespoons of the thick coconut milk from the top of the tin and add it to a pan with the coconut oil, turn the heat to medium and allow the cream to boil for a minute and become oily.

Now turn the heat to medium-low and add the curry paste, fry slowly in the oily cream for 4 - 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until very slightly darkened and aromatic, and the oil rises to the surface.

Next stir in your palm sugar and cook for another minute before adding the fish sauce. Cook for 30 more seconds before adding the stock, remaining thick coconut milk, plus 5 tablespoons of the thinner milk from the bottom of the can (discard the rest, or keep it for another recipe), the stock and torn lime leaves (if using).

Simmer this gently for 1 - 2 minutes. Taste: the seasoning should be balanced - slightly sweet and a hint salty.

Add the butternut squash and simmer for 2 more minutes, before stirring in the sliced chilli, cooked and sliced beef and the picked Thai basil leaves.

Turn off the heat and serve.

Eat with jasmine rice (and ideally with one or two other Thai dishes, to make a balanced Thai style meal).