Burmese Beef and Potato Coconut Curry


Tender beef chunks and potatoes accented with aromatic spices, assorted hot chiles,

and unsweetened coconut milk meld together in this rich and satisfying stew. 


For the stew:


          5  Tablespoons peanut oil

          2  pounds        beef stew meat, cut in 1" cubes

          2  medium       onions, cut in large dice

          4  cloves         garlic, finely chopped

          8                    serrano chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced

          5                    jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced

          1  Tablespoon  ground cumin

          1  Tablespoon  ground coriander

          2  teaspoons    ground fennel seeds

          2  teaspoons    turmeric

   1 1/2  teaspoons    cayenne pepper

          2  cans           unsweetened coconut milk (13 1/2 ounces each)

          1  cup             water

          3  medium       boiling potatoes (about 1 pound total),

                                    peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

      1/2  cup             fresh lime juice

                                salt and pepper to taste


For garnish:


          3                    red serano chiles (or any other small red

                                    chile pepper), stemmed and thinly sliced

         ½  cup             fresh cilantro, finely chopped


In a very large nonstick pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil over high heat.  Add the beef and cook, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.


In the same pan, add the remaining 3 Tablespoons of oil and heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the onions, garlic, chiles, and spices and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Transfer to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the beef. 


Cook the mixture over high heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.


Add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to moderate and cook 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the meat is very tender. 


Add the potatoes and lime juice and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.  Season with salt and pepper.


Just before serving, garnish with the seranno chiles and cilantro.



May be served with steamed rice and stir-fried green beans.


Yield: 6 servings


source: "Turn It Up!" by Janet Hazen

            (Chronicle Books, 1995)