It is funny, the way you can raise 2 kids close to the same (although of course not identically) and have them turn out so differently. I may have mentioned Sammy is my sensitive one where Alex is more prosaic. Well we have finally had a fish death. The fish, as you may remember, belong to Alex. Noir, the black Molly, is dead, and Spotty, the spotted Molly, is missing. (Ugh, I keep wondering if the other fish ate him! But he was big! But he is nowhere to be found which is just so disturbing on so many different levels…) Anyway, Alex was sad, but very calm and accepting about it. We did not have any kind of ceremony and we just flushed Noir down the toilet. Fast forward to the next day when Sammy unfortunately revealed that the black Molly was her favorite fish in Alex’s tank.
Picture me wincing. Picture Sammy sobbing. Alas. The funny thing is, I was much more like Alex as a child but now I relate more to Sammy. I also agreed with Sammy that the Mollies were my favorites–but since both Mollies died I am of course left wondering if something about the other fish or this tank was not suitable for the Mollies. Sigh. And of course Spotty is still missing. It sounds like something from a bad Encyclopedia Brown novel!
Another thing Sammy and Alex react pretty differently to is coconut milk. I have no idea why–Sammy ate plenty of curries when she was really little. But then one day, a year or so ago, she suddenly could detect coconut in anything and hated it. And all of its forms too–flaked coconut, shredded coconut, extra virgin coconut oil and coconut milk. All of them. Which is a problem in this family. My compromise is I don’t make her eat it multiple nights in a row, but as you can imagine I am not going to stop making coconut milk curries.
This particular curry was inspired by a Thai Laksa I came across while browsing David Thompson’s absolutely gorgeous Thai Street Food. I was surprised to see it, as up until now I have only come across laksas in Malaysian and Indonesian cookbooks, and the Malaysian and Indonesian versions inevitably have a few ingredients I have trouble getting, like candlenuts. So even though I have drooled over many laksa recipes I have never made one. When I saw David Thompson’s I was excited because I can get all of those ingredients. I bookmarked it for the future, but I also took note of his comment in the headnotes that although he does not approve of it, many cooks in Bangkok will cheat by using a red curry paste plus curry powder. A-ha! Some homemade red curry paste from the freezer, some homemade garam masala from the spice drawer, some leaves from my Makrut lime tree, and I had something interesting going on. David Thompson might not approve, but I won’t call it laksa (which I think usually has seafood anyway) and instead I will just tell you it was seriously tasty! Alex especially went crazy for it!
- 6 meaty beef short ribs
- 1 T extra virgin coconut oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup red curry paste
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 1 t garam masala, to taste
- 1 t curry powder
- 19 oz coconut milk
- 6-7 cups beef stock (can sub with chicken stock if need be)
- 1 lb sliced button mushrooms
- 10 small peeled shallots
- 2 medium-large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 full leaf (which is actually 2 leaves, attached) makrut lime leaf, middle stem removed-when you remove the stem, it will be in 4 pieces
- 1-2 T brown sugar
- 1/4 cup fish sauce, to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 green onions, chopped
Preheat the oven to 300 F.
Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven. When it is shimmering, add the short ribs, 3 at a time. Brown them on all sides--be patient and get a really nice crust.
Remove the short ribs to a large bowl and set aside. Drain off all but about a tablespoon of rendered fat and coconut oil. Add the red curry paste and stir it into the oil, letting it fry. When the oil begins to separate, add the chopped onion and stir. Keep stirring occasionally, while you caramelize the onions until golden.
When the onions are golden, add the garam masala and curry powder. Stir to roast briefly, about a minute, and then add the coconut milk, beef stock, mushrooms and shallots. Stir in 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and the kaffir lime leaves. Place the short ribs, with their juices, into the pot, submerging them into the liquid. Sprinkle the chopped tomatoes over the short ribs.
Bring to a boil on the stovetop. Then cover with a tight fitting, heavy lid and place in the oven. Let cook for 3 hours.
Check the meat to see how done it is. If it is the way you want it--I like it falling off the bone, reduce the heat to 250 F and let it just sit in the warm oven. Otherwise, let it cook more. 3-4 hours is perfect in my experience.
Before serving, taste for more fish sauce, brown sugar and garam masala. Sprinkle with a good amount of chopped cilantro and green onions and serve with Jasmine rice.
It really is crazy how different kids from the same family can turn out! My siblings and I are all very very different. For example, even though we all grew up on the same foods I am much more of an adventurous eater than they are! I think we all love Thai foods and Thai flavors though…this stew seems especially flavorful and lovely! I love the curry paste and curry powder “cheat”…I always have both of those on hand!
Ruthy @ Omeletta says
This is beautiful! Such a gorgeous red color. I’m so sorry about the fishes! And I agree- way disturbing about wherever the Molly went to. Like a fish mystery. You don’t happen to have a shady cat stealing your fish, do you? Because that sounds way more like the conclusion to an Encyclopedia Brown book 🙂
Ha I wish! At least then we would have a theory and a suspect! Nope just 3 oversized and oblivious dogs.
This is so bright and vibrant and beautiful – I want to eat a giant bowl right now!! Yum!
(Side note: I just left a comment on another blog w CommentLuv literally one minute ago, and it worked, and it’s not working here. So. Annoying.)
Same here. Works with everyone but you. SO weird and SO annoying.
I’m having the very interesting situation of having a teacher who previously taught one kid, with memorably poor results, teach the other kid the same subject. I actually went up to the teacher at Open House and told him that although they share the same parents, he will have a vastly different experience with this kid.
This looks just gorgeous–I love the colors of the broth and the herbs against the rice. I cannot remember what cuts of meat I ordered from our new cow, but I’m hoping short ribs are on the list.
Kirsten: you could easily sub chuck or any other good braising beef cut. And that’s funny re: your kids. I am not sure how different my kids seem to their teachers (and this far it has not mattered as they have not shared teachers). Someday if the same teacher has both I will have to ask!
Nature vs. nurture, both for your kids’ food taste and your mollies’ survival rates! This dish looks heavenly – but I’m the only one in the house who loves mushrooms. Next dad’s night, for sure.
What a pretty, pretty dish. I love that vibrant crimson against the white rice and coriander. Sounds delicious. I am not a keen maker of soup of any kind but I love the sound of this laksa stew. The beef short ribs look amazing xx
Thats a nice dish! love all of the flavours in that bowl.
That looks very delicious and lovely. It would also fit perfectly for the blog challenge thingy (Bloggers Around the World), which I have running on my blog for September and which is featuring Thai food.
bristol plasterer says
Yummy that looks perfect, i love trying out different curry’s and dish’s, and beef and tomato dish’s are my favorite.
Lisa @ Panning The Globe says
So sorry about your fish. It’s so sad to lose a pet, even a fish. after too many small pet and fish funerals in our family we finally gave up and got a dog. The recipe looks amaaazing. I will be making it soon!
Laura @MotherWouldKnow says
I wish I had my own lime tree, but even without one, I’d love to make this stew. As for kids turning out differently – I know just what you mean. My two are as different as night and day, but lucky for me, they seem to love being with each other and treasuring their differences.