Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Beef Madras

This is a wickedly strong, dark and rich curry: spicy enough to need a raita on the side for the more genteel palate. Although you can use tomato puree, I prefer to use pureed tomato: tinned tomato drained and given a quick whizz, which is slightly lighter. The whole curry is thickened by the whopping dose of powdered spice together with the natural reduction during cooking. The end result can only be described as ‘massive’...


  • 500g lean beef in 2cm cube
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 local red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 200 ml pureed tomato
  • 250ml good beef stock
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala

Marinate the beef in the lemon juice and salt for a good 30 minutes. You’ll need a good extractor fan for the next step. Heat the oil in a wide-bottomed, covered pan and add the onion, garlic and chilli flakes. Stir ‘em up and fry for a couple of minutes, taking care to keep your face well away from the pan: the chilli hit is enormous and will have you coughing like a tear-gassed demonstrator outside a WEF plenary if you don’t watch it.

Add the coriander, ginger, pepper, cumin and turmeric, stirring the mixture so that it mixes well and doesn’t stick too much. Add the beef pieces, lifting them out of the lemon juice and fry to seal and brown them a little. After another couple of minutes, slip the remaining lemon juice into the pan and stir it in, then the pureed tomato. Once this has been stirred in, add the beef stock and then bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cover the pan and cook for a good 30 minutes, giving it the occasional stir (and discarding any water that’s gathered on the pan lid). If you’re doing this for entertaining, you can remove the lid and leave it to stand and cool a little before reheating. Otherwise, remove the pan lid, add the garam masala and cook for a further ten minutes. By now you should have a thick sauce. If not, cook it for a little more uncovered.

Serve with a cooling raita and, perhaps, an excellently rich dal.

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