Red Curry Paste (makes 1 cup, enough for 6 curries):
7 large dried red chili peppers (Anaheim, Guajillo, Colorado or New Mexico), seeded
3 dried or fresh Thai chiles, Seeded
15 cloves garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp white pepper
3 shallots or ½ onion
zest of lime
2″ ginger, peeled chopped (or 1 tsp ground)
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, thinly sliced (can managed without)
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 lbs lean steak, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or shrimp, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tbsp lime juice
small handful of Thai basil leaves are nice if you have them
sliced Thai chilis to garnish
lime wedges to garnish
fresh cilantro to garnish
It is great even if you don’t have any garnish
1. Soak the dried chilis in warm water for 30 minutes. Place the soaked chiles, 1/4 cup of the water in which you soaked them, and the rest of the curry paste ingredients in the ninja. Blend until smooth, adding additional water if needed to help the blending process, then set aside. (I already completed this step.)
2. Warm the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the steak, chicken, or shrimp. Stir-fry until browned and cooked through, in batches if needed, 3 minutes for steak, or 6 minutes for chicken. Remove from the skillet and set aside on a paper towel.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1/4 cup of the curry paste to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook until darkened, stirring constantly.
4. Add half of the coconut milk and stir to incorporate. Simmer until thick and darkened, then stir in meat. Stir in the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, and bell pepper and cook until the pepper starts to soften, about 1 minute, then add the lime juice and Thai basil leaves. Taste and add salt if needed, then serve, garnished with sliced Thai chilis, lime wedges, and cilantro.
** The curry paste can be kept in the fridge for a month, and freezes really well. Make a double (or triple) batch, separate it into 1/4 cup portions, and freeze it for easy meals – just be sure to use it within six months or so.