Cold Purée of Curried Beef


This light and zesty dish is a mating of the soft, moist filling from Curry Crescents, and either chilled lettuce leaves, crisp crackers, or bread rounds, as you please. With the lettuce, it is an engaging cold supper for the warm months. Spread on crackers or on thin, toasted rounds of good bread, it is a welcome change from pâté, perfect as an hors d’oeuvre.

  • While it might be more Chinese to eat the beef hot, I like to chill it overnight to give the flavors time to develop. It will keep well for a week and only improve in flavor—a great boon for busy people like me who don’t mind eating the same light dish a few days running. You may even freeze the purée. The curry paste preserves it remarkably well.


  • 1 recipe curried beef filling
  • 16–24 pretty lettuce leaves, butter lettuce especially nice
  • or
  • unsalted crackers
  • or
  • thin rounds of toasted baguettes


Making the filling

Follow the directions. Cool the mixture, then seal airtight and refrigerate, preferably overnight to develop the flavors. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Serving the purée

For presentation as a cold platter, arrange the individual lettuce leaves in an overlapping spiral around the outside of a large platter, then mound the beef in the center. Invite each guest to wrap a dollop of the beef in a lettuce leaf, and eat it taco-style.

As an hors d’oeuvre, spread the curried beef on crackers or bread and arrange attractively on a serving tray. Or, present the toasts and purée in separate dishes and invite the guests to help themselves.