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David Thompson’s Country beef curry with chillies and holy basil

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With its abundance of red fruit flavours, the Tahbilk Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2015 from Nagambie will complement the chillies in this dish. Velvety smooth, it has a seasoning of clove and kitchen spice, fine savoury tannin depth and savoury length.

INGREDIENTS

  • 140g wagyu beef cube roll lip

 

Garlic paste

  • 1 tbsp peeled garlic cloves
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 long scud (green bird’s eye chillies)
  • Pinch grapao (holy basil) buds

 

Red curry paste 

  • 15 long dried red chillies, deseeded
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass, finely sliced
  • 1 heaped tbsp galangal, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp red shallots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp kaffir lime zest
  • 1 scant tbsp gapi (shrimp paste)
  • Large pinch white pepper
  • Large pinch toasted ground coriander seed
  • Pinch toasted ground cumin seed

 

Curry

  • 4 tbsp rendered pork fat
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp mekhong (whiskey)
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • ½ tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • ½ cup stock, up to 2 more
    as needed
  • Pinch chilli powder
  • Pinch galangal powder
  • 2 or 3 long green chillies, cut into lengths, leaving the seeds in
  • Handful holy basil leaves

METHOD

1. To make red curry paste, soak the chillies in water to soften. Remove and squeeze off any excess water then roughly chop. Pound the chillies with a pinch of salt in a mortar with a pestle. Add lemongrass and continue to pound. Add ingredients in order, pounding as added. Add all the spices at once and pound to a fine paste.

2. Slice the beef across the grain.

3. To make the garlic paste, coarsely pound the garlic with the salt, chillies and grapao.

4. Fry garlic paste in the pork fat in a brass wok until just coloured. Add the prepared beef and simmer/fry until cooked and golden and richly aromatic.

5. Season with fish sauce and mekhong
and simmer for a few minutes before adding the nutmeg, palm sugar and curry paste and frying for quite a while until the beef is cooked and smells utterly aromatic. About halfway through add some of the torn kaffir lime leaves.

6. Moisten with the stock and continue
to simmer for several more minutes.

7. Add the chilli and galangal powder.

8. Finish with the chilli and basil. It should taste rich, spicy and have quite a lot of oil.

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Words by Jackie MacDonald on 8 Mar 2018
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While Anna always had a sweet tooth, the fact that she became a pastry chef was, she says, “a mistake.” She started out as an apprentice kitchen chef, but, she describes, “I was a bit of a wild child, all those nerdy chefs were sitting there really paying attention and I was out partying and having a great time.”  On the verge of losing her apprenticeship, Anna was thrown a lifeline by way of the chance to participate in a cooking competition with a team of four apprentices. Her role: pastry.  “I had no idea about pastry, so I went in every single day to learn,” she says.  When the big day arrived, though, her hard work went unrecognised.  “I lost that competition,” she recalls, “but I had given so much of my time and energy and I remember crying in the corner and saying to Mum, ‘I don’t understand, I did so well and my dessert was honestly better than everyone else’s.’ That’s how I saw it.”  But like most sensible mums, Anna’s saw the valuable lesson in the loss.  “She was like, ‘My daughter really needs to know how to lose before she learns to win.’” 
For the full story and recipes from Anna, pickup a copy of Selector  from all good newsagents, subscribe or look inside your next Wine Selectors delivery.
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