Like many things created in 2020, Matt Moran’s Kitchen Tales came about because of Covid. The Sydney-based chef (Aria, Chiswick) says the topsy-turvy year reminded him how much he likes catching up with friends over a meal cooked at home. So he decided to launch a seven-part series all about catching up with friends over a meal cooked at home.

And he’s got some impressive friends. Long-time buddy Deb Hutton is on the show; so is motorbike enthusiast Kate Peck; fashion-designer-turned-seaweed-farmer Sam Elsom; and actor and writer Meyne Wyatt, who earlier this year became the first Indigenous artist to win any prize in the Archibald’s 99-year history.

Moran makes meals for his guests based on their favourite food memories, and for the 2020 Archibald Packing Room winner Wyatt, he whips up Thai beef curry. “[A curry] was a family dinner. We’d go there every Sunday, and nan would pull out the chicken curry. It was one of those recipes she took to her grave. She gave enough to let you know what the basics were, but she always put a bit of [secret] spice on at the end,” says Wyatt.

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While Moran says he didn’t want to go up against Wyatt’s nan’s recipe, he cooks a version with Wagyu short rib and lots of Thai spices. “Short rib is a perfect cut for curry. The marbling brings so much flavour and you end up with a really tender curry that just falls apart as you eat it,” Moran tells Broadsheet.

Matt Moran’s Thai beef curry
Serves 4 People
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours 45 minutes

2 Wagyu short ribs, boneless, cut into 4cm cubes
150ml grapeseed oil
2cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly sliced
2cm piece galangal, peeled and roughly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red chilli, seeds removed
2 birds eye chilli
50g palm sugar, grated
250ml chicken stock
1 lemongrass
400ml coconut cream
400ml coconut milk
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 cassia bark
1 star anise
150g pea eggplants, picked off stem
4 apple eggplant, cut into quarters
Zest of ½ a makrut/kaffir or other lime
4 makrut/kaffir or other lime leaves, torn

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

To make the curry paste, place 100ml grapeseed oil into a food processor with the ginger, galangal, garlic and chilli. Blend until smooth.

To prepare the short ribs, place a lidded, oven-proof braising pan on a high heat and add 50ml oil. Once the pan is hot, add the short ribs and sear until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add the curry paste and cook for 3-4 minutes, constantly stirring, until the paste has caramelised. Add in the grated palm sugar and cook for a further 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan by adding the chicken stock.

Cut the lemongrass into 4cm lengths and crush with the back of a knife to release the flavour. Place the lemongrass in the curry, add in the coconut cream and milk and stir through. Add the fish sauce and return the short ribs to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil. Add the cassia bark and star anise. Cover with a lid and place in the oven and cook for 3 hours or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened.

Once the curry is cooked, remove from the oven and add the pea eggplants, apple eggplants, lime zest and leaves. Place the lid back onto the pan and allow the eggplants to cook for 15-20 mins on a low heat until tender.

Remove from heat and rest for 15 minutes before serving with steamed rice and a zesty green papaya salad.

Find Kitchen Tales via Matt Moran’s Youtube channel, with episodes released every few days until December 2.

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