I am pretty sure that I have mentioned before that every Christmas I make a big Indian meal for my in laws. Only some dishes ever make it on here, however, because, well, it is a holiday meal with guests, so food photography is the last thing on my mind. And I really like to make new dishes, so sometimes they are not all blog worthy. Anyway, I was excited when there were plentiful leftovers of this beef curry, because it was fantastic, definitely blog worthy, so I was able to take the pictures with leftovers.
The meal consisted of Basmati rice, a sweet and sour shrimp from the coastal areas of India, a dry cauliflower curry with green onions and mustard seeds, a homemade cranberry chutney and this curry, a Parsi dish thickened with peanuts. Now, if I were just making this curry for any old regular night, I would not have served it with rice, but rather I would have added more potatoes (the recipe instructions below reflect this), but for a holiday indulgence I was ok with the rice. But that is why you cannot see any rice in the nicer pictures–that was leftovers, which I just ate with the potatoes.
I adapted my recipe for this curry from a recipe for a peanut thickened Parsi lamb curry in Suvir Saran’s always reliable Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More Than 150 Recipes. It was a great dish to make with other dishes, since its prep work is all done earlier in the day and then it is just left to slowly braise in the oven. Everyone agreed it was wonderful, and I will definitely make it again. Also, I doubled the recipe below, ergo the plentiful leftovers.
- For spice mix:
- 1 t coriander seeds
- ½ t cumin seeds
- 2 T raw peanuts
- For curry:
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 2 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-3 inch chunks and sprinkled with salt and pepper
- kosher salt, to taste, count on at least 1 teaspoon
- 3 medium large onions, thinly sliced
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 2-inch chunk of ginger, minced
- hefty pinch coarse aleppo
- 3 medium tomatoes, chopped with juices
- ½ cup finely ground peanuts (I placed a heaping cup of peanuts in the food processor and blitzed until just before they turned into butter)
- 3 cups water, plus more as needed
- 5 medium all purpose or boiling potatoes (such as red or Yukon Gold), cleaned and cut into same size chunks, around 2 inches cubed*
- 1 T tamarind concentrate
- 1 T brown sugar
- some kind of sweet and sour chutney for serving, such as this cranberry chutney
- Begin by making the spice mix: toast the peanuts for a minute or 2 over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds. Toast, shaking occasionally, until they start to get fragrant. Add the the cumin seeds and continue toasting and shaking the pan until fragrant and darkened, but not burned. Transfer to a small bowl to let cool.
- When the spices and peanuts have cooled, transfer to a spice grinder and grind until they are a fine powder. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 300 F.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the beef, in batches so as to not overcrowd the pan, and brown on all sides. Remove the browned beef, using tongs or a slotted spoon, to a bowl.
- Immediately add the onions with a pinch of salt. Place a cup of water beside the cooktop. Add a splash of water if the onions do not produce enough liquid to deglaze the pan.
- Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the browned bits. Caramelize the onions, stirring occasionally, splashing a little water into the pot if the onions start to scorch or stick.
- When the onions are golden, add the ginger and garlic with a pinch of coarse aleppo. Keep stirring and splashing water as needed, until the onions are dark golden brown.
- Add the spice mix and stir. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.
- Add the chopped tomatoes with juices. Stir and scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Mix in the 3 cups of water and the ground peanuts. Add the beef chunks with any accumulated juices in the bowl. Make sure they are covered by liquid. Bring to a boil. Place a heavy, tight-fitting lid on the pot, and place in the oven.
- Cook for 2 hours.
- Remove the pot from the oven and place on a burner on low heat. Add the tamarind and brown sugar. Stir. Then add the potatoes and stir. Replace the lid and put back in the oven.
- Cook for another hour. Check the beef and potatoes both for doneness--if either is not yet fork tender, put it back in the oven, still covered, and cook for another 30 minutes. Repeat test.
- When the potatoes and beef are tender, taste for additional salt.
- Serve with a sweet and sour chutney.
- *If you prefer to serve with rice, reduce the potatoes to 3, cut them smaller, and serve with Basmati rice
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