With the perfect amount of heat, some hint of sweetness, and lots of savory deliciousness, this Thai Ground Beef or Pork Curry is deliciously comforting! It’s easy to make so it’s perfect for weeknight dinners!
Both hubby and I enjoy spicy foods so I often make a curry-type dish at home at least once a week. When it comes to curry, Mark is partial to Indian-style curry while I, on the other hand, prefer a more Southeast Asian type of curry.
But, as long as the food has the right amount of heat and has the complexity of flavors we always look for in a spicy dish then we are both happy to eat it all up!
This Thai Ground (Minced) Beef or Pork Curry is certainly that kind of dish! It’s a flavor explosion in your mouth.
I previously made a ground beef Indian-style curry in this blog called Keema Beef Curry which we both enjoyed. When we fancied another minced beef curry I thought, for a change, to make a Thai version instead. After all, I always have the complete Asian seasonings at hand (fish sauce, limes, tamarind, etc) so it made sense.
Or perhaps, I was just missing eating some yummy southeast Asian food having just recently returned from the Philippines. Whatever the reason I may have had a couple of weeks ago when I first made this, I am just happy it turned out good and even my spicy-food aversed kids seemed to enjoy it.
What I love about this dish is the delicious layering of flavors so each bite you taste hints of sweetness, a spicy kick (it’s curry after all!), slight tang from the tamarind (or lime) and saltiness from the fish sauce! Oh so good! Enjoy!
Thai Ground Beef or Pork Curry
With the perfect amount of heat, some hint of sweetness, and lots of savory deliciousness, this Thai Ground Beef or Pork Curry is deliciously comforting! It's easy to make so it's perfect for weeknight dinners!
- 2 red Thai chilis (or finger chilis), seeded
- 1 medium onion or large shallot
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
- 4 cilantro roots or stems, or about 2 tablespoons, chopped
- 2 teaspoons shrimp paste (optional but adds depth of flavor)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 pound ground beef or pork
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate (or 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, process the chilis, onion or shallot, garlic, ginger, and cilantro roots or stems, to a paste. Add the shrimp paste to the spice paste, if using. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet to medium. Add the spice paste and cook for about 5 minutes or until the paste begins to release its oil and has darkened in color. (If you use the mortar and pestle, oil bubbles would be more likely to be released than if using a food processor.) Add the ground meat, increase the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Season the meat with fish sauce.
Add the water and crushed tomatoes and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and the meat is fully tender.
Season with the tamarind concentrate or lime juice and sugar and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed - you should taste hints sweetness, saltiness, slight tartness and, of course, some spicy kick. The aim is to balance these flavors. Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro leaves. Serve on top of rice or noodles!
For more flavor, use the mortar and pestle to make the paste - worth the elbow grease because by grinding the spice through pounding, it releases the oils and flavors from the spices.