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Curried Beef in Yogurt and Toasted Spices

Adapted from Neelam Batra
Course Entree
Cuisine Indian
Keyword beef, yogurt
Author TheSpicedLife


Spice blend:

  • 2 T blanched almond slivers
  • 2 T shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1 T coriander seeds
  • 2 t cumin seeds
  • 1 t white poppy seeds
  • 1 t black peppercorns
  • 1/4 t whole cloves
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1-3 dried hot peppers, to taste, optional

For the curry:

  • 2 lbs stewing beef, chuck would be ideal, I used round, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 2-4 T vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T minced ginger
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes--local, freshly picked (or frozen) ones are preferred
  • 1 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro, including soft stems
  • 1/2-1 t paprika, use the larger amount if you opted not to include hot dried chile peppers in the spice blend
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 3 small zucchini, sliced into rounds
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt, whisked smooth
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • garam masala to taste
  • cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
  2. Toast the ingredients for the spice blend in a nonstick skillet. Toast over moderately high heat, shaking and stirring occasionally, until they are darkened and fragrant. Remove to let cool out of the pan.
  3. While the spices are cooking, heat a large skillet with a lid over medium high heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil; when it is shimmering, add the beef to brown it. When it is browned on all sides, add the water and scrape the browned bits from the pan. Cover the pan and place it in the oven to allow the beef to slowly braise while you prepare the rest of the curry.
  4. Place the cooled spices into a coffee grinder and grind them until they are fine.
  5. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and fry, stirring, until they are darkly caramelized--watch for scorching and add either more oil or water if that is a problem. Once they are quite caramelized, about 10-15 minutes, add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Then add the tomatoes and cilantro with another pinch of salt and cook for another 10 minutes, until the juice from the tomatoes has evaporated.
  6. Add the ground spice mix with the paprika and turmeric, as well as salt to taste. At this point, remove the beef from the oven and add it to the Dutch oven, with all of the accumulated juices. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to the lowest simmer. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes. Then add the yogurt in a thin stream to prevent curdling and mix in the orange juice. Bring back to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook until the beef is tender and the sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes (it could take longer if your beef chunks are particularly large or tough). 10 minutes before serving, add the zucchini.
  7. Before serving, sprinkle with some garam masala and cilantro leaves. I served over basmati rice; flatbreads would work also.