Monday, August 10, 2009

Thai Beef Over Coconut Brown Rice

Serves 4

1 cup brown jasmine rice
1 can (13.5 ounces) thin or light coconut milk (see first note below)
1/2 cup chicken broth
generous 1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 scallions, green and white parts thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 long peppers or red jalapeƱos, seeded and julienned
1 pound ground beef sirloin
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup loosely packed and torn fresh basil leaves (preferably purple or opal basil)
1/4 cup loosely packed and torn fresh mint leaves
optional lime wedges, for serving

1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, broth and water. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, keep covered and cook until rice is creamy and liquid has absorbed, about 30 minutes.
2. When rice is nearly done, combine fish sauce, tamari, lime juice and sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add scallions, garlic and chiles; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add beef. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until completely browned, about 4 minutes. Add tamari mixture and cook for 30 more seconds. Add basil, mint and carrot and stir to combine. Serve over coconut rice with lime wedges, if desired.

*Coconut milk is the sweet, milky white cooking base derived from the meat of a mature coconut. Two types of coconut milk exist: thick and thin. Thick coconut milk is prepared by squeezing grated coconut meat through cheesecloth. Then, the squeezed meat is soaked in warm water and squeezed a second or third time for thin coconut milk. Generally, thick milk is used to make desserts and rich sauces. Often, thin milk is used for soups. This distinction isn’t usually made in Western nations since fresh coconut milk is seldom produced, and most consumers buy coconut milk in cans. Manufacturers of canned coconut milk typically combine the thin and thick squeezes with the addition of water as a filler.

Recipe by Cristina Paul

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