Turn curry paste into an ex­otic Thai bar­be­cue sauce

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - FOOD & WINE - ⁄ by JM Hirsch

AFEW years ago I cre­ated a recipe for a killer bar­be­cue sauce. It was ex­actly the way I like it — thick, rich, a lot savoury, a lit­tle sweet and burst­ing with cumin, smoked pa­prika and so many other de­li­cious sea­son­ings.

Like most home­made bar­be­cue sauces, it’s so much bet­ter than any­thing you can buy. And yet I al­most never make it.

Ad­mit­tedly, it’s be­cause I am lazy and gen­er­ally short on time. Though bar­be­cue sauce is hardly dif­fi­cult to make — dump ev­ery­thing in a bowl and mix — gath­er­ing up the many in­gre­di­ents my recipe calls for too of­ten is sim­ply too much work. I usu­ally just reach for a bot­tle of what­ever brand is handy and make do. Un­til re­cently, when I reached into the cab­i­net and dis­cov­ered we were out. Worse yet, we didn’t have the in­gre­di­ents to make my usual recipe.

I did, how­ever, have a jar of Thai red curry paste, a South­east Asian sea­son­ing. Red curry paste is a de­li­cious mash of red chilies, co­rian­der roots and leaves, shrimp paste, le­mon grass, gar­lic, shal­lots and galan­gal (a rel­a­tive of gin­ger). It smells both toma­toey and ex­ot­i­cally heady with spicy aro­mas. The flavour is warm, but not bit­ing, with tastes of gin­ger and gar­lic.

That night, all I did was thin it with wa­ter un­til it had a bar­be­cue sauce con­sis­tency, then tossed chicken in it and slapped it on the grill. It was crazy good. The next night, I tried it again. But this time I doc­tored it a bit, bring­ing it just a bit closer to tra­di­tional bar­be­cue sauce. But I still didn’t want to turn it into a gro­cery list of in­gre­di­ents; I could just stick my orig­i­nal recipe if I was will­ing to do that.

So I mixed the curry paste with wa­ter, peanut but­ter and lime juice. That’s it. It was in­cred­i­ble, tasting equal parts spicy bar­be­cue sauce and peanut satay. I’ve since used the same sauce on beef, chicken and tur­key. It even would be good mixed into ground beef or tur­key.

In a medium bowl, whisk to­gether the may­on­naise, hot sauce and lime zest (re­serve the juice). Add the broc­coli slaw and mix well. Sea­son with salt and pep­per, then set aside.

In a large bowl, mix to­gether the curry paste, peanut but­ter and lime juice. Mix in just enough wa­ter, 15 ml (1 tbsp) at a time, to achieve a bar­be­cue sauce con­sis­tency. The amount of wa­ter will vary de­pend­ing on the thick­ness of the peanut but­ter you use. Set aside.

Cut the tur­key ten­der­loin cross­wise to form 6 round cut­lets. Add the cut­lets to the curry mix­ture, turn­ing to coat well. Re­frig­er­ate for 15 min­utes.

Mean­while, heat the grill to medium-high. Use an oil-soaked pa­per towel held with tongs to oil the grill grates.

Re­duce the grill to medium and set the cut­lets on the grill and cook for 6 min­utes per side, or un­til they reach 75 C (165 F) at the cen­tre. Place each cut­let on a bun, then top with some of the broc­coli slaw. Start to fin­ish: 30 min­utes Serv­ings: 6

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