Rush Hour Gourmet

Posted: July 26, 2007

Five-minute meals?

Even if you don't move as fast as celeb-chef Rocco DiSpirito, the recipes in his Rocco's Five Minute Flavor (Scribner, 2006) can be ready in single-digit cooking times.

The chef's tips, along with shortcut ingredients (canned cheddar cheese soup, sofrito and such) and recipes limited to five ingredients (beyond basics like oil-vinegar-sugar-salt-pepper) make this a resource anyone with little time for cooking will appreciate.

Best of all, no one will suspect how easy dishes such as this well-seasoned beef curry actually are to prepare. And if you have leftover roast or steaks, don't hesitate to use thin slices of the meat at hand.

Beef Curry Saute

(Makes 4 servings)

11/2 cups water

2 cups instant rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup diced green, red and yellow bell peppers

2 tablespoons Patak's Hot Curry Paste

(tomato and cumin)

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

1 pound thick-sliced deli roast beef

Salt and black pepper to taste

1. In a medium pot, on high heat, bring the water to a boil. Salt lightly. Stir in the rice. Cover tightly and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil hot in a large saute pan. Stir-fry the peppers until aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in the curry paste, then the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Stir in the roast beef. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat through. Remove from heat.

3. To serve, fluff the rice. Divide on four plates. Spoon the beef curry over the rice.

Per serving: 619 calories, 29 grams protein, 53 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams sugar, 31 grams fat, 52 milligrams cholesterol, 1,289 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.

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