If you had told me 2 years ago that I would love my slow cooker, even on the hottest days, I would've been incredulous. But I've learned a few tricks about how to get a great-tasting meal out of the slow cooker, and one of those tricks is to add something flavorful at the end to pump things up. When I saw this recipe for coconut beef in the May issue of Landcruisers, I knew it would work. Stew meat is braised in curried coconut milk all day, then it's infused with flavor and texture: crisp snap peas, barely-heated red onion, lime juice and cilantro. I even stirred in a little extra curry paste to give it a boost, and it did not disappoint.
in the morning, I mixed in the slow cooker crock 3/4 cup light coconut milk with 1 tablespoon red curry paste, 2 grated cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons grated ginger and 1/4 teaspoon salt. (I grated the fresh ginger and garlic cloves with my microplane right into the slow cooker crock.) I added 1 1/2 pounds lean beef stew meat, stirred to coat, then covered and cooked on low 7 hours. (Either 6 to 7 on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.)
About 15 minutes before dinnertime, I put a pot of water on the stovetop to boil. I sliced a couple handfuls of snap peas into pieces and thinly sliced 1/2 red onion. I turned off the heat under the water and added my rice noodles, half a package, according to package directions. (My noodles sat in the hot water for 8 minutes, then I drained them. They maybe could've gone a little longer.) Meanwhile, add the peas, onion and the juice of 1 lime to the beef. Cover and give it a few minutes to heat through, then stir in lots of fresh chopped cilantro (I skipped because the kids don't like cilantro). I tasted here and added a bit more salt and another teaspoon or 2 of the curry paste. Tossed the beef with the drained noodles and served.
The coconut sauce after cooking the beef but before you add the other stuff tastes a lot like beef stew, so I fiddled with it a bit, adding the lime, onion and cilantro at the end, then tasting and adjusting the seasonings. The noodles are pretty bland so the sauce needs a lot of flavor. My kids liked the beef, and my daughter liked her noodles plain, but they were both suspicious of the sauce and wouldn't really try it. My husband and I didi enjoy it, though, and if I caught my kids on a more adventurous night I think they'd like it, too.
Here's the original recipe: