Chef Adam Hynam-Smith’s Beef with Thai Coconut Red Curry, Haricots Verts, and Herb Salad

When Adam’s recipe arrived for this month’s Chefs #LoveCDNBeef  I was very excited to get cooking and try it. Not only did he share Thai Red Curry dish, which is one of my favourite flavour pairing with beef, but he also included his Chili Caramel recipe which the haricots verts are tossed in.

This was the first time I tried one of the dishes on guests before making it at home first, and I was cooking in their kitchen, so I was a little nervous.  But the dish really was easy and quick to prepare.

The recipe has a lot of ingredients, and multiple stages of prep, but if you can do them in advance, it’s actually quite quick to put this on the table. And it’s a beautiful dish to serve guests.

Chef Adam Hynam-Smith's Beef with Thai Coconut Red Curry Haricots Verts and Herb Salad

The quality of chilies I was chopping did give me pause, since one of our hosts/guests isn’t big into spicy, but we always follow the recipe to the letter for the first try.  In the end the dish was perfect. The way Adam has created it, the dish lets you get the great flavours of the different types of chilies and some heat, but nothing you have to worry about if heat isn’t your thing.   If it is, try it this way first, then adjust.

A couple of quick notes before you get into the recipe:

  • Even though the first instruction in the recipe is to cook the beef, you actually want to hold that off until the end. But it’s just a single step, so it makes sense to tell you up front what you’ll be doing with your beef.
  • I got the striploin steaks, which were outstanding and huge, from Schomberg Quality Meats.   As I was plating we all decided we’d want seconds, so we threw an extra steak onto the barbeque on at the last minute.
  • The Ingredient list might look intimidating if you’ve never made curry paste before, but most of these are available at mainstream grocery stores across Canada these days. I got everything except the steaks at Oriental Harvest, an Asian grocery on Spadina. (Don’t worry I put some substitutions down at the bottom just in case.)
  • The recipe says to cook the caramel until it’s dark, but since you are using palm sugar, it starts pretty dark.  I’m tentative making caramel since I’ve burnt it so often, so mine was a bit runny.  But that was easy to fix, I reheated & reduced some in a sauce pan before tossing the beans in and it worked perfectly!
  • Our hosts didn’t have a spice grinder, so after toasting the spices we ground them in a mortal & pestle which gave us a coarser grind, but that’s fine too.


Beef with Thai coconut red curry, haricots verts, and herb salad

Serves 4

Cook beef to desired temperature in preferred method (I pan-seared striploin and finished it in the oven to medium-rare)

Curry Paste

Ingredients for curry paste:

  • ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3 star anise pods
  • ½ tbsp white pepper corns
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 8 shallots (rough chop)
  • 6 cloves garlic (rough chop)
  • 2 inch piece ginger (peeled, rough chop)
  • 2 inch piece galangal (rough chop)
  • 1 stick lemongrass (fine slice)
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 8 large red chilies (deseeded)
  • 4 dried large red chilies
  • 2 birds eye chilies (optional)
  • 5 coriander roots (washed)
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste

Method for red curry paste:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 c.  [note: this is about 350F which confused me for a couple of minutes]
  2. In a dry pan, roast the coriander, peppercorns, salt and star anise until aromatic; set aside to cool. When cool, grind in a spice grinder.
  3. Wrap the shrimp paste in foil, place in oven and roast until dry and aromatic, remove.
  4. Place all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.

Curry Paste Complete

Curry Sauce

Ingredients for curry sauce:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Palm sugar, grated, to taste [I used 2 tsp]
  • Fish sauce, to taste  [I used 1 Tbsp]
  • Fresh lime juice, to taste [I used 1 Tbsp]

Method for curry sauce:

  1. In a wok, reduce 1 can coconut milk until it separates and becomes oily and shiny.
  2. Add 2-3 tbsp red curry paste and fry until aromatic
  3. Season to taste with palm sugar, fish sauce, and fresh lime juice.

Chili Caramel

  • 1 package palm sugar
  • 5 birds eye chilies, finely sliced
  • 8 long red chilies, finely sliced
  • Fresh lime juice, to taste  [I used 1 Tbsp]
  • Fish sauce, to taste [I used 1 Tbsp]


  1. In a small pot, dissolve palm sugar in one cup of water.
  2. Bring to a boil, and let reduce until mixture has darkened.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Add chilies to caramel.  With whisk, slowly combine fish sauce and some lime juice, to taste.
  4. Can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Chili Caramel

Haricots Verts

  • Approximately 30 fresh haricots verts


  1. Just before serving, blanch beans in boiling water for 15 seconds.
  2. Remove from water
  3. Toss in a pot with chili caramel.

Herb Salad

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, picked and washed
  • 1 cup fresh Thai basil, picked
  • 1 cup fresh mint, picked and washed
  • Small 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely julienned
  • Thai birds eye chilies, finely julienned, to taste
  • 2 cm piece of lemongrass, white end only, finely julienned
  • Fresh lime juice, to taste  [I used the juice of 1/2 a lime]


  1. Place herbs, ginger, lemongrass, and chilies in a bowl. Dress with fresh lime juice and toss gently to combine.

Herb Salad Complete

To serve:

Place blanched green beans on centre of plate; top with cooked beef and red curry sauce.  Place dressed salad on top of sauce and serve with wedges of lime.

PlatingTop with Coconut Red Curry Sauce
Making Adam's Recipe


Some Ingredient Notes:

(these are from Lex not Adam, here’s hoping he agrees)

  • When you get your cilantro/coriander, get the stuff with the roots still on. That’s not a typo, the curry paste uses the roots.
  • Some substitutions in case you have problems finding these ingredients
    • Palm sugar is a great ingredient, but if you can’t find it where you live, try it with a dark brown sugar. It’s not the same, but it’s still good.
    • Kaffir Lime Leaves, if you can’t find them fresh which can be a challenge, frozen or dried will work. Asian groceries who don’t have them fresh often stock bags of them frozen or dried. I’ve seen them dried and bottled in the spice aisle in some grocery chains. If you can’t find that, try strips of lime peel. Again, not the same, but workable.
    • Galangal, which is a type of Thai ginger, if you can’t find it just use more ginger. You miss the slight floral and citrus notes but if I hadn’t just written that, you might not even miss them.
    • Shrimp Paste and Fish Sauce are available at most well-stocked grocery stores these days and at Asian groceries too. Just ask if you can’t find them.
  • Peanuts! Adam garnishes this dish with peanuts but didn’t include this in the recipe, so when I started plating I didn’t have any on hand. Next time I’ll be prepared and garnish with crushed peanuts and a lime wedge next time.

Slideshow from our cooking session:

Notethis post is part of my Canadian Beef Brand Ambassador series .  For more information on my relationship with Canada Beef Inc read about my Foodie Adventure: I’m a Canadian Beef Brand Ambassador. #LoveCdnBeef and my disclosure statement

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

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