Penang Beef Curry

Submitted - Ben
Views - 127
Serves - 4



One 2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
5 coriander stems
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 star anise pod
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon black soy sauce (see Note) or 3/4 teaspoon soy sauce with 1/4 teaspoon molasses
2 teaspoons crushed rock sugar or turbinado sugar
Kosher salt
500g-1kg hanger steak, cut into 1-inch cubes


7–15 Dried Chilies, how much you use depends on size and spiciness
1 tsp coarse sea salt
3/4 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1.5 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1/4 tsp white peppercorns
3 Tbsp chopped lemongrass
1 Tbsp chopped galangal
1.5 tsp kaffir lime zest
1 tsp cilantro roots
3 Tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 tsp shrimp paste
2 Tbsp roasted peanuts, ground


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Penang or red curry paste (see above)
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt
Coriander leaves, for garnish
Steamed rice and lime wedges, for serving


Step 1 - prepare the braised beef:

Wrap the ginger, cilantro stems, garlic, peppercorns, cloves and star anise in a cheesecloth bundle and tie with kitchen string. In a large saucepan, combine 3 quarts of water with the spice bundle, both soy sauces, rock sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add the steak cubes and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate. Discard the spice bundle and reserve the spiced broth for another use.

Step 2 - make the paste

- Soak the chilies in water for at least an hour to soften.
- Using a heavy-duty mortar and pestle or a spice/coffee grinder, grind the toasted coriander seeds, toasted cumin seeds, and white peppercorns into a fine powder. Remove and set aside.
- Grind roasted peanuts in the mortar and pestle until fine; remove and set aside.
- Drain the chilies from soaking water and dry off excess water with paper towel. Cut into small pieces. Add chilies and salt to a heavy-duty mortar and pestle; pound into a rough paste. Add the ground dry spices to help absorb the liquid from the chilies and continue pounding to a fine paste.
- Add lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime zest, and cilantro roots; pound into a fine paste.
- Add shallots and garlic; pound into a fine paste.
- Add ground peanuts and shrimp paste, pound to mix.

Step 3 - meanwhile, make the curry

In a large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the curry paste and fry over moderately high heat, stirring, until the paste is fragrant and the oil is bright red, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and bring just to a simmer.

Add the steak cubes to the curry sauce and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Ladle the beef curry into bowls and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with steamed rice and lime wedges.


Make Ahead:
The beef curry can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Black soy sauce and Penang curry paste are available at Asian markets or online at

Suggested Pairing:
The spicy and fragrant Penang curry paste pairs well with a steely, citrusy Australian Riesling.