The second cookbook by Careima Isaacs, Curried, is an ode to curries and the forms they take on, no matter which part of the world they hail from.
Careima Isaacs is a South African food writer, chef and entrepreneur based in Dubai. She first learned to cook curry with her Ouma in the Cape Malay Quarter in Cape Town. Cape Malay Lamb Curry was the first curry she perfected, and she has since then perfected curries from all over the world, arguably her favourite dish to cook.
She opens Curried, with her curry-cupboard caboodle. The collection of spice mixes, marinades and pastes she uses when time or ingredient constraints mean using fresh ingredients to make your own isn’t possible. She shares the brands – many of which are available locally – and the exact mixes, an addition I appreciated. Curried is a cookbook filled with warmth and personality – from the personal stories and pictures added to every chapter, to the dedication in the opening pages. It’s a treasure trove of curry intel and a cookbook any curry lover shouldn’t be without. It’s what I’ll be turning to anytime I want to make a curry, and if the recipes I’ve tried thus far are anything to go by, it’s a cookbook packed with flavour, warmth and make-again dishes.
She splits the cookbook according to seasons – Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring – cooking to seasons. There’s also a chapter on breads, rice and condiments that includes Cape Malay Flaky Roti that looks similar to Malawach, a Yeminite flat bread that I can’t wait to try. As all good meals end off, Curried ends off with a chapter on drinks and desserts.
The recipe I am sharing is her Thai Red Beef Stir Fry Curry which was incredibly delicious and for a curry required minimal time. It’s a repeat dish for sure!
A note on ingredients:
The recipe calls for lime leaves, I found a bottle of dry lime leaves here which I used; and was much happier to find them dry as they’ll last, unlike fresh which would be wasted as only 2-3 are needed. Discard them before eating.
Thai Red Beef Stir-Fry Curry from Curried
- 2 tablespoon peanut, coconut or canola oil
- 750 grams fillet steak, thinly sliced into strips and massaged with 1 teaspoon of tenderizer*
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- ¼ cup Thai red curry paste
- 2 small red onions halved, and thinly sliced
- 1 medium red pepper deseeded and thinly sliced
- ½ stalk lemon grass ground soft and fluffy (this takes just a few seconds in a spice grinder or blender)
- 2-3 Thai lime leaves
- 4 baby marrows cubed
- 1 cup sugar snap peas roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 lime juiced
- salt to taste
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 400 ml coconut milk
- sliced red chilies / fresh coriander or parsley / lime wedges for garnishing
- rice noodles / jasmine rice for serving
- Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan on medium to high heat.
- Add the beef and stir-fry for 3 minutes, then remove from the wok and set aside on a plate.
- Add the garlic, ginger and curry pastes to the wok and stir until the curry paste has rendered and all the ingredients are well incorporated. This takes 3–5 minutes.
- Add the onions or shallots, red pepper, ground lemongrass and Thai lime leaves.
- Keep on stirring the ingredients and then add the marrow and peas.
- Add the fish sauce and lime juice and cook for another 1–2minutes. Season with salt.
- Return the beef strips to the wok and give this a good stir. Add both the coconut milk and cream, adjust the heat to high and cook for another 3 minutes or until the sauce is lush. (I cooked the beef strips for longer - about 20 minutes)
- Garnish with slices of red chilli and/or coriander or parsley leaves and serve with noodles or steamed white jasmine rice with a wedge of lime.
Curried was given to us by Penguin Random House and is available here. Penguin Random House nor the author approved or reviewed this piece prior to publication. Opinions are our own. The recipe is reprinted with permission, images are our own.
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.