Philippa Sandall and Diane Temple say they aren’t penny pinchers they just shop and cook smart and they have written a book full of 100 budget-stretching recipes to show you how to do it too. Here’s one of their curry recipes to try…


Serves 4

  • 1 tblspn peanut oil
  • 350g rump steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tblspns red curry paste (or to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 500g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 120g green beans, trimmed, sliced in half
  • 1 tblspn fish sauce
  • 1 tblespn table sugar
  • 1½ cups rice
  • chopped peanuts or chopped coriander or both (optional topping)


Heat the wok or large frying pan over high heat, add the oil and when hot (not before), stir-fry the beef in two batches for 1–2 minutes until brown. Set the beef aside in a heatproof bowl. Stir-fry the onion for 2 minutes then add the curry paste and garlic and stir to combine.

Pour in the coconut milk, stirring until the curry paste has dissolved and bring to the boil. Add the pumpkin chunks, cover (with a lid or foil), reduce the heat and simmer for 10–12 minutes until the pumpkin is just tender (but not mushy). Meanwhile, cook the rice following the packet instructions.

Add the green beans and the cooked beef to the wok, and simmer for 2 minutes until everything is piping hot and the beans are tender to crisp. Add the fish sauce and sugar, a teaspoon of each at a time, to achieve a flavour balance you like.

Spoon the rice onto four serving plates and top with the curried beef and a scattering of chopped peanuts or coriander for extra crunch and colour if you wish.

Chef’s tips:

This recipe delivers a fast and frugal curry fix. Check out Asian produce stores for a genuine Asian brand curry paste – they tend to be hotter and