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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Ed's English Beef Curry

A break from Italy for this one.

I started making curry because my wife and I moved to an area where all the local curry houses weren't up to scratch and we can't live without curry!

Unlike Italian food, I haven't yet started to prepare traditional Indian food. I'm currently reading "Gordon's Great Escape" and will probably get into it soon. This is as far from traditional Indian food as I'm sure it can get! For one, it uses beef rather than lamb; secondly... the cooking method is kind of screwy in terms of the way Indian people cook.

The reason for the cooking method is that the only way I could achieve the melt in the mouth meat that good curry houses plate up is by using similar methods that I use when making a stew or goulash. This is a dish that will take up quite a bit of time! Making my curry is a bit like "George's Marvellous Medicine" because it feels like you're just emptying the contents of your spice cupboard, but trust me it tastes great!

My curry is pretty much like a very hot rogan josh/vindaloo from what I can gather from the various recipes I've found on the internet. You can obviously take the number of chillies down if you prefer your curry milder and you can substitute lamb or chicken if you want.

Serves 4-6

750g Stewing steak cut into inch cubes
25g Butter
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
5 Cloves garlic, crushed
10 Red chillies, roughly chopped
1 Large onion, roughly diced
1 Red pepper, cut into strips
1 Green pepper, cut into strips
3 Tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 Tube tomato paste
2" Square of ginger, grated
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped roughly (save a few whole leaves for serving)
Heaped tablespoon of cumin
Heaped tablespoon of turmeric
Heaped tablespoon of garam masala
Heaped tablespoon of paprika
Heaped teaspoon of fenugreek
Teaspoon of cinnamon
Teaspoon of black mustard seeds
Teaspoon of hot curry powder
2 Bay leaves
Cider vinegar (enough to marinade and also a teaspoon for the curry, see below)
Balsamic vinegar to marinade
Plain yoghurt (enough for a teaspoon or so in the curry and to serve)
Juice of one lime
4 cloves, crushed
3 Teaspoons of tamarind paste
Large pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper

You need to marinade the beef for about 6 hours before you use it. To do this put the beef in a bowl and cover with the cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. The acid starts to break down the fibres in the beef and will give you a more tender end product.

When the beef has marinaded for 6 hours you need to construct the curry paste.

Put all of the dry ingredients in a suitable mixing bowl and add everything apart from the oil, butter, onion, peppers, bay leaves, beef, yoghurt and tomatoes. Mix this together until you have a rough paste.

Fry your onion in the butter and oil until soft and then add the peppers (you need a big pot which has a lid). Continue cooking until the peppers are beginning to soften. Add your paste to the onions and peppers and cook for about 2 minutes stirring continuously so it doesn't burn (this is my favourite part as all the spices give off a terrific aroma!). It's now time to add the beef cubes so rinse the vinegar marinade off and add them to the pot. Let the beef cook for about five minutes in the thick sauce. It's important to keep stirring as the sauce will burn if you're not careful. You now need to add about a pint of boiling water, stir it in, add the bay leaves and let it reduce on high heat. Put the oven on at 160 to heat up while it is reducing.

Once the curry has reduced to the point where it has quite a thick sauce, take it off the heat, put the lid on  and put it in the oven for about an hour and a half. At this point, take it out of the oven and add the tomatoes. Put it back in the oven for another hour or until the meat is "falling apart" tender.

Once the meat is tender, take the curry out of the oven and leave to rest for five minutes. Once rested, stir in about a tablespoon of yoghurt and serve with the rest of the yoghurt (for people to cool it down if it's too hot) and some whole coriander leaves (and of course a cold beer!).

From my experience it tastes LOADS better the day after so if you can resist eating it the day you cook it and reheat in the oven the following day, you'll enjoy it more (although remember you can only reheat it once).

A quick note on rice:

Rice cooks quicker and is more fluffy if you soak it for an hour first. I usually soak mine with a couple of cloves, a pinch of cinnamon and turmeric and a cardamon pod for flavour.

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