Back to Basics – Beef Curry

by spiceaholic on January 20, 2008

Without fail, beef curry is one of those things I crave when I get homesick for my mom’s cooking. A lot of it is because it is comfort food for me, but some of it is also because I still haven’t quite got the hang of it. If it’s not the gravy consistency, then it’s the cooking time. And of course you always want what you can’t have, right?

Well, I think I have gotten closer and closer to my goal.

This sounds very obsessive of me, but I have made beef curry 3 times in one week, and I think I’ve got my spice combo down pat. Evidence of this is that leftovers don’t last long when I do make it.

Here is what I’ve come up with so far. I actually wrote down the measurements when I made it today so that I’d have something to compare to next time I make it.

Beef Curry

1 large onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp oil

1 cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
6 green cardamom pods
4 cloves
8 peppercorns

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger paste
2 serrano chilis

2 lb boneless beef (stewing beef preferred), soaked in water and rinsed.
1 lb potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp combo cayenne, paprika, or chili powder
1/4-1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt (adjust to your taste)
2 tsp lemon juice
enough water to make a thick spice paste

garam masala
dried fenugreek (methi) leaves

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion slices and sautee until they soften and start to turn brown.

Add the whole spices, cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the ginger, garlic, and chili pepper. Cook for a couple minutes.

Add the beef pieces, making sure to combine thoroughly. Try to brown the pieces, but either way, cook a few minutes.

Add the spice paste, try to get all the beef coated. Cook a couple more minutes.

Bring the heat up to high, add 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for 1 hour. Periodically stir and make sure nothing is sticking to bottom of pan.

After about an hour, add the potato pieces and stir to combine. Add a bit more water if needed and cover and cook 30 more minutes, or until beef and potatoes are tender.

When beef and potatoes are tender, add a pinch of garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves. Add more water if you like a thinner gravy. Cook 5-10 more minutes, then taste for salt and adjust accordingly.

Note — as far as cooking time, haven’t quite gotten that down pat. It’s ranged from 1.5 hours to over 2. The first two times, I used stewing beef from Publix’s organic meat section. The meat was falling-apart tender after 1.5 hours. Today, I decided to try halal boneless beef from the Indian store. Let’s just say it’s been 2 hours and there are still quite a few stubborn chunks that refuse to become tender.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous January 22, 2008 at 5:44 am

Hi.. stumbled on this blog and had a nice time, your enthu for bento boxes is interesting! Nice healthy and pretty looking lunches you have there. I wish I could replicate but snatching a sandwich from the shawerma guy is way easier! But will keep coming here and hope get truly inspired to pack a little bit of health in a cute looking box. Smile. Angela.

Spiceaholic January 22, 2008 at 8:29 pm

Anonymous — thanks for stumbling onto my blog! I don’t blame you for being tempted by the shwarma man! 😀

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