Recipe for spicy coconut Red Curry, topped with ribeye steak

For the red curry paste:
3 large dried red chillis, soaked in warm water
1 t cumin seeds
1 t coriander seeds
1/4 t black peppercorns
2 t galangal paste
1 stalk lemongrass, hard outer sheath removed, chopped finely
1 large Thai lime leaf, crumbled
1 large spring onion, chopped roughly
1 lime, zested
10 g coriander, mainly the lower bits and stalks
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 birds eye chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 t shrimp paste
salt, to taste
water, for blending

For the curry:
3 T peanut oil
1/3 large red pepper, sliced lengthwise and in half
12 thin asparagus spears (washed and dried well)
4 T fresh ginger, cut into 1/2 average sized matchstick thickness
410 g can coconut milk
1/2 t palm sugar
200g Pad Thai noodles, cooked or instant
1/4 lime, juiced
soy sauce, to taste
400 g ribeye steak plus salt to season

For the garnish:
2 T fresh coconut, sliced and toasted (optional)
4 T fresh coriander leaves

How to
Start by preparing the paste. Soak the dried chillis for 30 minutes and leave to cool.

In meanwhile in a dry pan on medium heat, toast the cumin, coriander and pepper until fragrant. Take care not to burn the seeds. Remove and allow to cool.

Pound with pestle and mortar until it becomes a fine powder. Add to drained dried chillies and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Use 1/8 cup of water and more if needed, and blend with a stick blender until a smooth, thick paste forms. Be very careful if tasting and to not get the paste to splatter onto your hands or face.

Now, heat a wok or large pan on high, add oil and fry peppers and asparagus for a minute. Add 1 tablespoon of the red curry paste and stir, it will splatter. Turn heat down to medium. Add the ginger and fry for a minute.

Add coconut milk and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add palm sugar, noodles, soy sauce and allow to cook until the noodles are incorporated into the sauce and the asparagus is tender.

Turn heat off. Add lime juice, stir and keep warm.

Sear ribeye steak in a hot, non-stick pan ? about a 40-60 seconds on each side, depending on thickness and how you prefer your meat done. Allow to rest for a few minutes, and slice and sprinkle with salt.

Pile red curry noodles onto a plate, top with sliced ribeye and toasted coconut and coriander.

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Recipe provided by Ishay Govender-Ypma, selected by Mail & Guardian as one of the Top Young South Africans in 2014 for contributions to media. She is a food and travel writer and recipe developer based in Cape Town. She crafts short stories on social media and longer ones in print and on the web:
Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @Foodandthefab.