July 27th 2011
I made a big mistake last night – I had a friend round for supper and she arrived very early! By the time my beef curry was ready, I realised I’d been talking too much and had forgotten to take any pictures of the food! It looked so good though, that I did take some pictures of it finished.
This is a very simple curry, which can be made with raw beef (lamb or chicken are equally good) or in this case, leftover roast beef from Sunday. I’m inclined to juggle the vegetables around, depending on what I’ve got in the fridge, but I do love cauliflower with Indian food, so I bought one especially. Apparently cauliflower sales are down at present – people perceive that cauliflower lacks the nutrients that green vegetables contain – that’s not true, cauliflower is very good for you.
Beef Curry recipe:
1 and 1/2 lb of beef (cubed)
1 large onion (chopped)
6 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
2 small, red hot chilli peppers (finely chopped)
2 small carrots (chopped)
2 sticks of celery (chopped)
1 small cauliflower (discard the leaves and break up the white flowery part)
5 – 6 large tomatoes, blanched and skin removed (or a tin of plum peeled tomatoes)
2 desert spoons of tomato purée
2 glasses of red wine
1 big slug of olive oil (I didn’t have any ghee)
1 or 2 beef stock cubes (I use Kallo)
1 desert spoon of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of turmeric seeds
1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
a little ground fenugreek
a few black pepper seeds
1/4 teaspoon of mustard seed
1 splash of red wine vinegar
Make the paste first, by warming a frying pan and adding the coriander, turmeric and cumin seeds. When they start to smell aromatic, turn the heat off and put them in a mortar. The warming process will help them to release more flavour during cooking, but be carful not to burn them or you will spoil the taste.
Grind up all the curry paste ingredients with a mortar and pestle and then drizzle in the red wine vinegar until you have a thick purée.
Start cooking by browning the onion in olive oil (or ghee if you have some). The beef, chilli pepper and garlic come next and I always sprinkle in the stock cube at this stage to put flavour into the meat. Once the beef has browned a little, stir in the curry paste, followed by the carrots, celery and garlic. Coat the vegetables completely in oil and paste before adding the tomatoes (an easy way of crushing up the tomatoes is by using a potato masher). Squeeze in the tomato purée and pour on 2 glasses of red wine. Keep stirring and allow the sauce to come to simmer before tasting. If it doesn’t taste beefy enough add a little more stock. This is also an opportunity to put some more tomato purée in or even extra chilli if it’s not hot enough. I like hot things and my rule of thumb is that it has to bring out perspiration on my forehead to be right!
Cauliflower goes quite mushy if it’s cooked for too long. I cooked this curry for 3 hours, in a large casserole at 100º C – in the oven. By doing this, the curry can cook for a long time without burning – the beef in particular absorbs all the spicy flavours (and if you use stewing steak it becomes tender). Add the cauliflower half an hour before you are ready to serve the curry, it cooks quite quickly.
Serve the curry with basmati rice – white basmati needs to be soaked for half an hour and rinsed a couple of times (to remove the starch) before cooking. Use 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. For brown basmati (which I like), use the same 2 to 1 quantity of water – I do soak it for half an hour, but I’m not sure if there’s much point – it needs to simmer for ten minutes and at the end, rested, with the lid on, while you boil the kettle. Rinse the rice with boiling water before serving, to remove the husk and starch.
I have to have lime pickle with all curry – generally I buy jars of it, but it’s not hard to make – one of these days I’ll make it and report back!