Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Back of the Can: Orchid Coconut Milk

I'm starting a new regular feature today. About once a week I'm going to cook a recipe that comes on the back of the can/box/package. You know, those recipes that you never cook, or even consider cooking. Who knows, maybe there are some gems out there.

Today it's Orchid Coconut Milk.
Pa-Naeng Neua (Beef curried in sweet peanut sauce)

400 grams beef, cut into thin strips (I don't know how much this is but I used 1 lb.)
2 cups coconut milk (Why your recipe would call for 16 oz of coconut milk when your can contains 14 oz. I'll never understand...)
1 thinly sliced red spur chilli (sic)--what is this? A little chopped jalapeno will have to suffice
1/2 cup ground roasted peanuts
6 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces (I put in a little lime juice and zest instead of the leaves)
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/4 cup sweet basil
3 Tbsp. pa-naeng curry paste (I used green curry paste because it's what I had)

What it says to do: Put 1 cup coconut milk over medium heat until some of the oil surfaces, add the curry paste and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Put in meat strips and cook for 5 minutes, add 1 cup coconut milk. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients except lime leaves. Add this to the curried meat, stir well and simmer about 15 minutes. Add the lime leaves, sweet basil, and remove from heat.

What I actually did: Pour entire can of coconut milk in pot; heat for about two minutes until you get bored of waiting for oil to surface, then put in curry paste, meat, and all other ingredients except basil. Throw in some chopped bell pepper and onion because beef and coconut milk do not satisfy your childrens' nutritional daily requirements. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add basil.

The verdict: This was surprisingly delicious. I was so ready to bag on the idea of just throwing a bunch of stuff into broth without sauteeing anything first but cooking the beef in the liquid gave it a great flavor. And the whole thing took me literally 5 minutes to prep, and then 20 minutes total cooking time (mostly simmering which leaves you free to clean the kitchen). A back of the can winner!

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