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Tag Archives: beef

Zigni (Ethiopian/Eritrean style Beef Stew)

I travel the world through food, and today I am taking you to East Africa!

It was ‘berbere’ that introduced me to East African cuisine, specifically Ethiopian cuisine. Suddenly my world opened up to a whole new spectrum of flavours and dishes. From this traditional tomato salad to a grilled fish recipe inspired by my new found love for berbere, I wanted to learn more about the vast expanse called African cuisine which is as colourful as its land, culture and people.

This time, I did not just re-visit Ethiopia but learnt of the existence of a whole new country, Eritrea.

Sharing borders with Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti, Eritrea has a fascinating cuisine with borrowed influences from all these bordering countries. And I learnt that berbere was hence, commonly used in Eritrean cuisine too. Today’s dish, Zigni, is a great example of that.

Zigni (Ethiopian/Eritrean style Beef Stew) - thespiceadventuress.com

Zigni is essentially a beef stew spiced with berbere and simmered in a tomato based gravy. It is a relatively spicy dish, but nothing crazy. If you can handle an Indian curry, you can enjoy this one too.

Ever since I discovered berbere, it has become a staple spice paste in my kitchen. Very flavourful from both whole spices and aromatics like garlic but it is the paprika that gives it that classic red colour and the spice hit. Hot paprika needs to be used for berbere and not the sweet or smoked version, both of which will alter the final taste of the spice paste. Fenugreek is another crucial ingredient along with other whole spices like cumin, cardamom, coriander, pepper etc….

Just as with all spice blends, berbere too has variations but the key spices that go into the paste remain the same. And that goes for the preparation of Zigni too…I found quite a few variations of this dish but the general idea remains same. So it is really important to research a bit, read up many recipes from as authentic a source as possible before trying out traditional dishes like this. The version that I have made is adapted from a couple of recipes and the recipe of berbere is from this African cookbook.

Berbere - thespiceadventuress.com

Traditionally Zigni is had with Injeri, a soft spongy sourdough risen flatbread which is an amazing combination. While I have had Injeri before, I do not know how to make it so paired this beef stew with garlic herb foccacia. Any sort of bread with a spongy texture is idea with Zigni to soak up all the juices of the stew.

So let’s get cooking this traditional dish of Eritrea – Zigni!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg beef; cubed
  2. 1 can diced tomatoes
  3. 4 spring onions (only the white part); sliced
  4. 2 garlic cloves; sliced
  5. 1 small onion; sliced
  6. 3 tbsp berbere (click here for recipe)
  7. ½ tsp sugar
  8. ½ cup fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  9. Vegetable oil
  10. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Heat 4-5 tbsp oil in a deep bottom pan; sear the beef cubes in batches and keep aside.
  2. Add more oil if necessary and when medium hot, add the garlic, onions and spring onions. Cook till softened and then add the berbere.
  3. Mix well to combine and cook on low heat for a minute.
  4. Next add the tomatoes and mix well. Add the sugar and season with salt. Cook on medium for 2 minutes and then add the seared beef cubes.
  5. Also add 2 cups water and bring to boil. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
  6. Simmer and cook till the beef pieces are tender and soft (stir occasionally and add more water if necessary).
  7. Finish with fresh coriander leaves mixed through.
  8. Rest for at least 30 minutes before serving for the flavours to develop.

Zigni (Ethiopian/Eritrean style Beef Stew)

 

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Massaman Curry

It’s Friday guys! Time to put up the tired feet and get some much needed rest or catch up time with family and friends. Not so much for me as we are currently house hunting and the whole thing is slowly beginning to get on my nerves. We just can’t seem to find a decent place especially with the zillion demands we have. Hopefully something comes up soon and then the herculean task of moving houses will begin. Telling you guys, I have amassed a ton of props and I know I am going to freak out during the packing and shifting process.

I am sure you will hear me whining more about that later but for now, let’s just feast on this deliciously comforting Beef Massaman Curry.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are familiar with Thai food, then you would have definitely heard of Massaman curry. It’s a staple curry from the region and often made with chicken, with beef and lamb not being far behind.

Massaman curry has a very interesting history to it. Also known as Matasaman curry, it is believed that this dish was introduced to Thailand by Persian merchants and soon became an integral part of the Thai Muslim cuisine. Infact, historical writers believe that the name Massaman could also have been originated from the word ‘Mussulman’ which is another word for Muslim. But there are many others who believe that it is more of a Southern Thai dish with influences of Malay and Indian cooking since the curry relies heavily on the use of spices and coconut.

Traditionally, this curry was always made using chicken given the Islamic dietary laws. Beef and mutton were also popular but hardly ever made with pork. But in the West, you can find all sorts of protein being used including pork. Personally, I prefer lamb or beef; hence I have made a Beef Massaman Curry today.

The recipe I have used today has been adapted from the Chin Chin cookbook (remember the copy I won for last year’s Social Feeds competition). The recipe is not just detailed out well but more importantly; there is also a recipe for making the Massaman curry paste from scratch. Now this paste is where the magic lies – a medley of spices and aromatics blended together to create a spicy, sweet and heavily aromatic blend.

Massaman Curry Paste - a spicy and highly aromatic curry paste from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Let me tell you straight ahead, this is not your ordinary quick fix weekday dinner. The Massaman Curry takes time, effort and a whole lotta love to make it from scratch. But believe me guys, it’s so worth it. And when you make the curry paste, make sure you prepare a larger quantity and freeze in small batches.

Coconut cream is another main component of the Massaman curry. Though I generally prefer to use homemade coconut milk, the weather at the moment made me quite lazy so I used store bought ones. Also look out for coconut cream rather than milk when you are buying for that thicker and creamier consistency.

The braising liquid for the beef is another crucial step for this dish. The meat is just so tender and once strained, this flavourful liquid becomes the stock for the curry. The whole recipe is about adding layer after layer of flavour to yield that rich, sweet and spicy curry that warms your souls and tummies.

Do not get put off by the long list of ingredients or steps involved. Prepare the curry paste one day ahead so that you have enough time on the day of cooking the curry. Substitute with lamb shanks or chicken or even mixed vegetables with tofu for a vegetarian version. Make it folks, I promise you will love it.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

Massaman Curry Paste

(yields more than 2 cups)

  1. 60gms large dried red chillies, seeded; soaked in warm water and roughly chopped
  2. 1 medium red onion
  3. 1 ½ heads garlic
  4. 1 large galangal knob
  5. 3 stalks lemongrass (only the pale part)
  6. 4-5 coriander roots with a bit of stalk
  7. 60gms roasted peanuts
  8. 1 ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  9. ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  10. ½ tbsp cloves
  11. ½ nutmeg
  12. 3/4th tbsp mace powder
  13. 1 large cassia/cinnamon bark
  14. 3 green cardamom

For the braising liquid:

  1. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1 large knob galangal; roughly chopped
  3. 1 stalk lemongrass (pale part); roughly chopped
  4. 2 large red chillies; seeded and sliced
  5. ½ red onion; chopped
  6. 300ml coconut cream
  7. 2 cups water
  8. 1 cup homemade chicken stock
  9. 1/3 cup fish sauce
  10. 100gms palm sugar

For the curry:

  1. 1 kg beef (chuck steak); cut into 5-6 large pieces
  2. 1 cup kecap manis
  3. 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  4. 200ml coconut cream
  5. 5-6 tbsp massaman curry paste
  6. 2 shallots; diced
  7. 70gms pineapple; diced
  8. 1 tbsp palm sugar
  9. 2 tbsp fish sauce
  10. 2 large potatoes; boiled and cubed
  11. 1-2 tbsp tamarind water
  12. ½ cup toasted peanuts; crushed
  13. Crispy shallots; for garnish
  14. Coriander leaves; for garnish

Method:

Massaman curry paste:

  • Blitz the chillies, onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, roasted peanuts and coriander root to a coarse paste.
  • Grind the spices and add this to the paste along with a good pinch of salt.
  • Blitz again to get a smooth paste (you may need to add water).
  • Freeze in small batches.

To make the curry:

  • Marinate the beef pieces in kecap manis for a few hours or overnight.
  • Wipe off the excess sauce and keep aside to be braised.
  • To get the braising liquid going, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large vessel and add the onions, chilli, lemongrass and galangal. Cook to release the aromas for a couple of minutes and then coconut cream, water, stock, fish sauce and palm sugar.
  • Bring to boil and add the beef pieces to this. Cover and slow cook on the lowest heat possible till the beef has become really tender (took me about 1 ½ hours). Alternately, braise in the oven at 150°C till the meat is tender.
  • Meanwhile, 2 tbsp oil and coconut cream along with a good pinch of salt in another heavy based pan. As the cream separates and the oil starts to split, add the massaman curry paste and cook on high (with frequent stirring) for about 10 minutes. The aroma as the paste starts to cook is so aromatic. Reduce heat a bit and continue to cook the curry paste with frequent stirring till the oil starts to separate. Takes a fair bit of time so be patient.
  • Once the meat has cooked, allow the pieces to cool in the liquid, remove and cut into bite sized pieces. Strain the braising liquid and reserve the stock.
  • In another pan, heat the remaining oil and cook the shallots till golden. Add the pineapple pieces and continue to cook until it has softened and cooked out. Then add the palm sugar to get a caramel like mixture.
  • Add this to the curry paste and continue to cook till the oil starts to separate again. At this stage, add half of the strained braising liquid along with the fish sauce and tamarind water. Taste and season with salt if necessary; also balance out seasoning with fish sauce, tamarind water etc….
  • Add the boiled potatoes and the beef pieces and simmer on low heat. Add the remaining braising liquid and simmer till the meat and potatoes have warmed through.
  • To serve, spoon into a large bowl and garnish with crushed peanuts, crispy shallots and coriander leaves.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Beef Chili

I am definitely not a winter person.

Huddling (and sometimes getting lost) inside layers of clothing is not my idea of fun at all. I hate having to wear jackets all the time, running up huge electricity bills and totally getting blamed for it, washing dishes after dishes in the cold tiled kitchen (a food blogger nightmare!), existing on mugs and mugs of coffee that I turn into a caffeinated zombie half way through the day….

But if there’s one thing I love about this crazy weather, it’s my one pot, rich, spicy warmers in the forms of stews, curries and now this chili….

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Chili or Chili con carne is a Tex Mex delight; in fact it is the official dish of Texas. At its heart, a chili con carne is a rich meat stew with hot chili peppers and tomatoes. To add or not add beans to a chili is a matter of much debate and you can choose to make it however you wish to. I had a tin of black beans languishing in my pantry so in it went.

Dark chocolate in a chili is not very common but you will be surprised at the depth of flavour that a bit of chocolate can add to this beef chili. It has to be dark chocolate and not the sweetened milk ones as it would make the dish too sweet. You do not get to taste the chocolate as such but there definitely is a balance, a meeting of flavours that happens which makes this dish a delicious treat.

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And of course, what’s a chili without some chilli? Used in a couple of different varieties, the chilli is what makes this dish a real winter warmer. You can play around with the quantities to suit your tastes; mine can’t be anything but hot.

Beef is the meat of choice but if you do not eat beef, then lamb would be a good substitute. You really do not need any other accompaniments with a chili con carne; just a bowl of it topped with jalapenos and plenty of grated cheese.

So, here’s how you make a comforting pot of dark chocolate beef chili to warm your insides on a cold winter night!


Ingredients:

1. 1 ½ kg beef mince
2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
3. 1 can crushed tomatoes
4. 3 medium tomatoes; finely chopped
5. 1 can black beans (optional or use any variety you prefer)
6. 2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
7. 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
8. 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
9. 3 red jalapenos; finely chopped
10. 2 tbsp red chili powder
11. 1 tsp cumin powder
12. 2 tsp red chilli flakes
13. 1 tsp cayenne pepper
14. ¼ cup melted dark chocolate
15. 1 tsp brown sugar
16. 2 tbsp tomato sauce
17. Salt, to season
18. Black pepper, to season
19. 1 red jalapeno; sliced for garnish
20. Cheddar, grated for garnish

Instructions:

1. Keep all your ingredients chopped and ready to go.
2. In a large heavy bottom pan, brown the ground beef.
3. Next add the onions and brown for a couple of minutes.
4. Then add all the other ingredients and mix well to combine. Add less seasonings if you wish to and build up as you go.
5. Simmer on low heat for around 45 minutes; check and stir occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings especially the sweet: spice balance.
6. Serve hot with sliced jalapenos and grated cheddar.

Note: If you prefer a thinner chili, add stock or if you prefer the tomatoey flavour, then add an extra can of crushed tomatoes.

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A big thanks to ‘Two Red Bowls’ for sharing this wonderful recipe.

Rigatoni Chilli Bolognese

The saga of one pot meals continue especially after the loooong weekend. Well, it was a quiet Easter for us this year; just the three of us catching up on….us!

We did everything we enjoyed (read lazing around). Which included this big pot of Bolognese made from scratch!

Well, making Bolognese is not rocket science; it’s become an everyday dish in almost all Australian households. But most people make the mistake of using bottled sauces for the same. I agree it’s convenient, we are all pressed for time but pause – have you ever thought how many chemicals you would have consumed in just one meal?

And speaking of flavour, the store bought sauce doesn’t stand a chance against a pot of deliciously bubbling, rich and vibrant homemade bolognese.

Now coming to today’s dish, the Rigatoni Chilli Bolognese is a twist to the classic we have all come to love.

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The reason for using rigatoni – I am not a big fan of spaghetti. I can’t be bothered to perfectly twirl the delicate strands of spaghetti around my fork for every single mouth. The rigatoni is robust and big, perfect to soak up my rich chilli bolognese, it’s all about comfort.

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This chilli bolognese is all about flavour, deep and rich. Slow-cooking is the best way to extract and get those robust flavours. And a hint of chilli to warm your insides on a cold, rainy day.

So picture this…..on my favourite spot on the couch with a bowl of hot steaming and delicious chilli bolognese in my hand, a glass of red by my side, and my favourite movie running.

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Are you drooling by now? Then you know what you ought to do!

Ingredients:

  1. 500 gm rigatoni
  2. 150 gm bacon, chopped
  3. 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  4. 1 dry bay leaf
  5. 1 cup red wine
  6. 1 beef stock, dissolved in 1 cup water
  7. 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  8. 6 fresh basil leaves
  9. ¾ th cup chilli sauce (adjust to heat preferences)
  10. 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  11. 1 kg lean beef mince
  12. Sugar, a pinch
  13. Salt, to season
  14. Freshly milled black pepper, to season
  15. ½ cup olive oil
  16. Parmesan, as much as you wish

Method:

  1. In a large heavy bottom pan, heat the oil; brown the mince in batches and keep aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the bacon and fry for about a minute.
  3. Add the bay leaf and garlic; sauté till the garlic is just beginning to brown.
  4. Add the red wine and cook on low heat till the alcohol burns off completely; about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Then add the beef stock along with the rosemary and basil; bring to boil.
  6. Next, add the chilli sauce and crushed tomatoes along with 1 cup water. Add sugar and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Cook covered on low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the mince and continue to cook covered for another 30 minutes. Add water if the mixture looks dry.
  9. Cook rigatoni in boiling salted water till al dente or follow packet instructions.
  10. Drain the pasta reserving a cup of liquid.
  11. Add to the bolognese along with the reserved liquid. Mix well to combine.
  12. Serve warm with grated Parmesan.
  13. Tuck in!

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What’s your comfort food? Do share your story……

Beef Stroganoff

My first experience of Russian cuisine was aboard an Aeroflot flight. We were on holiday in India and missed our return flight back to Dubai. Since there were no available tickets for the next few days on a direct flight, we decided to take an indirect route – from Kerala to Mali Island and from Mali to Dubai via an Aeroflot tourist flight.

The roundabout journey was nothing short of an adventure for me, then a gawky 13 year old. All through the journey, I fantasized of all kinds of adventures happening to us courtesy the innumerable Nancy Drew books I had devoured by then. Well, there weren’t any major adventures except for the ones in my head and to cut a long journey short, let me get to the part of the Russian food.

Aboard the Aeroflot flight, amidst a bunch of Russian tourists (who could not stop raving about my mum’s silk sari), I had my first taste of Russian cuisine; more precisely, Beef Stroganoff. And my opinion…..yuck! It’s so bland. Little did I know at that age, that airlines food anyway tastes bland irrespective of the cuisine.

Fast forward many many years later, I started seriously learning and experimenting with foreign cuisines especially ones I had pushed away earlier. And the first name that came to mind was Russian and the beef stroganoff. I realized that the abundant usage of spices had influenced my taste buds so much that I was ready to believe that food which did not use many spices was bland. But then, I tried stroganoff a couple of times in a few restaurants in Madras and I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of flavour in it minus any heavy spices.

Australia produces the best beef in the world; there is so much flavour in the meat itself that makes it perfect for this beef stroganoff recipe. A traditional Russian dish that has seen many variations over the years, beef stroganoff has an interesting history as told by Tanya on her blog (she is of Russian heritage).

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So, here’s beef stroganoff – a classic Russian dish; tender pieces of beef and rustic brown mushrooms coated in a rich, earthy gravy flavoured with cream and spiced with freshly milled black pepper.

Recipe Courtesy – Adapted from a recipe by Samantha Jones

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Ingredients:

1. 4 tbsp olive oil
2. 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
3. 250 g brown mushrooms, halved
4. ½ cup plain flour
5. 700 g lean beef stir-fry strips
6. 1 cup homemade stock
7. 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8. 2 tbsp light sour cream
9. Salt, to season
10. Freshly milled black pepper, I used a generous amount as stroganoff loves black pepper

Method:

1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large non-stick pan over a high heat.
2. Meanwhile, mix flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and lightly coat the beef strips in the flour.
3. Sear the beef strips in two batches and keep aside.
4. Add 1 tbsp oil to the same pan, add the mushrooms cooking for 4 minutes or until tender, and set aside.
5. Add 1 tbsp oil to the same pan, add onion and cook for 3 minutes.
6. Return the beef pieces to the pan and add in stock and Worcestershire sauce; bring to boil.
7. Reduce to low heat and allow to simmer till the beef has cooked well and the sauce has thickened enough. Check in between and add more stock if necessary.
8. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
9. Remove from heat and stir through sour cream.
10. Serve hot with steamed white rice.

collage

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The tweeting bug seems to have bitten me too. If you are on twitter, drop in and say hello @vanyadhanya.

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Beef Podi……a celebration of Central Travancore flavours

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The region referred to as Central Travancore in Kerala comprises of the three districts, Alappuzha (Alleppey), Kottayam and Pathanamthitta. The cuisine of this region is quite unique to the rest of the state and boasts of some of the best and well-known dishes that have put Kerala on the world culinary map. But the dishes from this region are not for the faint-hearted; loaded with spices and a generous use of coconut, most recipes are drop-dead fiery but lip-smacking.

I had never had this dish before and was quite excited when I saw it on Maria’s blog, http://www.mariasmenu.com, (a must visit if you love Kerala cuisine). Like I already titled, it incorporates all the familiar tastes and flavours of the central Travancore region. The flavour is quite similar to beef ularthiyathu (another famous beef dish from the region) but the texture is totally different as the beef is cut into thin, long strips and sautéed dry with a spice-infused coconut powder.

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I followed the recipe exactly as written by Maria; her recipes are usually fool-proof and do not and should not be tweaked in any manner. So without much ado, let’s get cooking this spicy, coconuty beef podi.

Ingredients:

1. Beef – 500gm, cut into thin, long strips
2. Red chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
3. Coriander powder – 2 tsp
4. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
5. Onion – 2 medium, finely chopped
6. Grated ginger – 1 tsp
7. Grated garlic – 1 tsp
8. Freshly ground pepper – 1 tsp
9. Coconut oil
10. Salt – to season
11. Curry leaves – 3-4 sprigs

To roast and grind:

12. Grated coconut – ¾ cup
13. Black peppercorns – ½ tsp
14. Fennel seeds/perinjeera – ½ tsp
15. Fenugreek seeds/uluva – ¼ tsp
16. Cardamom – 4
17. Cloves – 5
18. Cinnamon – 1 inch bark
19. Shallots – 6 large, sliced finely (if using medium, use 8-10)

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Method:

• Dry roast the ingredients from 12-19 on low heat till golden brown. Cool a bit and grind to a fine powder.
• Marinate the beef pieces with ingredients 2-8. Season with salt and mix well. Keep aside for at least 2 hours.
• Pressure cook the beef along with the marinade and 1/4th cup water for 3 whistles (I use Australian beef which is quite tender and hence needs to be cooked only for a short while. If you are using Indian beef, you may need to cook for a longer time). Open and cook on high flame till the water dries out completely.
• Heat 3 tbsp coconut oil in a pan and add the cooked beef to the pan. Stir on medium heat for a minute and then add the ground coconut spice powder. Add the curry leaves and cook slowly on low heat till the beef is roasted well and the roasted coconut powder starts falling off the beef.
• Garnish with curry leaves and serve hot.

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Dr. Moffat’s Beef Madras

My desire to experience and prepare global cuisines stems largely from the travel bug inside me. Both I and my husband are avid travelers though we really haven’t seen/travelled as much as we like. But we are always planning about the next trip; both of us love visiting places and experiencing the culture, traditions, history and culinary delights of the region.

Right now, having just migrated to a new country, we have put our travel dreams on hold for a while. And this is why I am constantly looking for international cookbooks in the library – books which will not only give me a glimpse into the food but also the history and culture of a particular region or country.

During my last trip to the library, I came across a cookbook focusing on Botswana and sub-Saharan African food culture. The book ‘Mma Ramotswe’s Cookbook’ by Stuart Brown weaves the different foods from the region as a narrative through the eyes of Mma Ramotswe, a colourful lady detective who believes in being ‘traditionally built’. Now I scoured through the book wanting to re-create a dish from the region but to my surprise, this is the dish that caught my attention the most – A Madras beef dish in an African cookbook. It’s a small world indeed!!

There is no way I was not going to make this dish at home…and so here it is. This beef dish is spicy, tangy and sweet – the typical Madrasi flavours! And this is the first beef dish I have done in my life which uses tamarind.

Dr. Moffat’s Beef Madras - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

1. Diced beef – 600 gms
2. Fresh coconut – 1 cup, grated
3. Ginger – 1 tbsp, grated
4. Onion – 2 large, sliced finely
5. Tamarind concentrate – 1-2 tbsp (depending on the strength of the concentrate)
6. Cumin powder – 1 tsp
7. Coriander powder – 2 tsp
8. Smoked paprika (if not, use kashmiri chilli powder) – 2 tsp
9. Tomatoes – 2 ripe, diced
10. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
11. Vegetable oil – 3 tbsp
12. Garlic – 3 cloves, crushed
13. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
14. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
15. Curry leaves – a big handful

Method:

1. Blend coconut, tomatoes, ginger, mustard seeds and tamarind into a paste.
2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed vessel and sauté the onions and garlic till light brown.
3. Add the spices and cook till the rawness goes and oil clears.
4. Add curry leaves, beef, coconut mixture and enough water to cook the beef.
5. Close the lid and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours till the beef becomes tender and juicy. Stir occasionally and check for water content. The final dish must have a thick gravy consistency.

Note – You can prepare this dish in a pressure cooker also. Carry out steps 1-4 in a PC, close the lid and cook for 4-5 whistles or more till the beef is tender. Add only 1 cup water if cooking in a PC.

Beef Ularthiyathu (Slow Roasted Beef with Shallots, Spices and Coconut)

This dish has a rich culinary history and has become almost synonymous with the Syrian Christians of Kerala. The beef is slow roasted in a spice mixture and coconut shaves which gives it the rich, dark colour, texture and flavour. The ideal way to cook this would be in an earthern pot but since I do not have one, had to depend on the good old non-stick kadai.

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Good quality beef is an absolute must for this dish or you will end up with extremely tough meat pieces. Traditionally teamed with tapioca – but today, this one is eaten with just about any thing. A real treat if you are up for authentic Kerala cuisine!

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Recipe courtesy – Dr. Lakshmi Nair

Ingredients:

1. Beef – 1 kg
2. Ginger – 3 tbsp, chopped finely
3. Garlic – 5-6 cloves, chopped finely
4. Curry leaves – as much as you care to have
5. Coconut – as much as you care to have, cut into small pieces (shaves)
6. Curd – 1 – 2 tbsp
7. Shallots – 1 cup sliced
8. Salt – to taste
9. Coconut oil (no other oil can impart the true flavour) – 3-4 tbsp
10. Coriander powder – 1 – 2 tbsp
11. Red Chilli powder – 2 tbsp
12. Pepper powder – ¾ tsp {you can add more if you want to}
13. Saunf – 1 tbsp
14. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
15. Bay leaf – 1
16. Cinnamon – ½ bark
17. Cloves – 2
18. Cardamom – 2
19. Star anise – 1
20. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp

Method:

• Heat a little oil in a pressure cooker and sauté the coconut pieces till golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
• In the same cooker, add ginger, garlic and shallots. Saute till translucent and then add all the masalas and mix well.
• Add the beef pieces to this and then add curry leaves and curd. Add salt to taste. Mix well and pressure cook till the beef is 3/4ths done.
• In a non stick pan or earthenware pot, add oil and then crackle mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and the cooked beef along with the stock.
• Cook on low flame till the beef turns brown. (A time-consuming process but worth the effort!)
• Garnish with the coconut pieces and curry leaves.

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Beef Roast (Thattukada style) – From the streets of Kerala

You haven’t really experienced the flavours of Kerala if you haven’t eaten at the innumerable thattukadas (street food stalls) that are scattered across the state especially on the highways. And this beef dish is the prime example of what to expect at a thattukada – perfect with a plate of tapioca or hot flaky porottas.

Now I didn’t really know how to get the flavours right and so asked my foodie buddies to help me out with recipes or links. A dear friend told me about the below mentioned blog, which according to her, is great for some authentic Kerala dishes. And she was so true; the recipe was perfect, simple to follow and the result – a delicious beef roast.

thattukada beef roast

Recipe courtesy – mariasmenu.com

Ingredients:

1.Beef – 1/2 kg, cut into small pieces
2.1 large potato; cubed (optional)

3.Ginger – 1 tbsp
Garlic – 10 cloves
Pepper – 1/2 tsp
Chili powder – 1/2 tbsp
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Fennel (perumjeerakam) -1/2 tsp
Cardamom – 2
Star anise (thakolam) – 1
Cinnamon – 1 small piece
Cloves – 2

4.Onion – 2, sliced finely
Ginger – 1 small piece
Green chili – 2
Salt
Curry leaves

5. Coconut oil

Method:

• Grind together the spices and aromatics givenn under number 3 ingredients.
• Heat the oil in a pan/pressure cooker.
• Add the number 4 ingredients and sauté.
• When the onions become soft add the ground spice paste & fry till the oil starts appearing.
• Add the beef, potatoes and 1 cup of water.
• Cook the beef till it becomes tender and the gravy is thick.

Note – Potatoes are optional and are not found in most street food versions. Since I love potatoes with meat, I used it in this recipe.

thattukada beef roast

Beef Cutlet (Kerala style beef patties with onions and aromatics)

One of the biggest culinary revelations that I had after moving to Australia was that a ‘cutlet’ is actually a cut of meat. Back in India, cutlets are similar versions of patties and there are several different types, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. But I am not going to re-name this recipe as the name itself inspires memories of my childhood and cooking with my mom.

My mum used to make these amazing cutlets and I was always the ‘helper’ and my task was always to coat the cutlets evenly with bread crumbs at the end – a job I took upon with great pride every single time. In spite of eating different types of cutlets over the years, the taste of this still lingers in my mouth and I would, unbiasedly, say this is the best beef cutlet ever! And made this for the first time all by myself to give my son, a taste of my childhood.

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Ingredients:

1. Beef mince – 1 kg (get good quality mince without the rough cartilage bits)
2. Potatoes – 3 large, boiled and mashed
3. Red onion – 2 large, finely chopped
4. Garlic – 5 cloves, finely chopped
5. Ginger – 1 inch, finely chopped
6. Green chillies – 7-8, finely chopped (the quantity can be varied according to the type of chilli used)
7. Black pepper – 2 tsp
8. Salt – to season
9. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
10. Egg – 2-3, beaten well
11. Bread crumbs – enough to coat the cutlets (is store-bought, one packet should be enough but if making at home, make crumbs from half a pack of bread)
12. Coriander leaves – 1 cup, finely chopped
13. Vegetable oil – for deep frying

Method:

• Boil the potatoes in salted boiling water, drain and pat dry, mash and keep aside.
• In a large wok, heat 2-3 tbsp oil, add the beef mince, onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies, salt, pepper and coriander powder. Saute for about 5 minutes till the rawness of all ingredients is removed.
• Transfer to a large bowl; add the mashed potatoes and coriander leaves. Mix thoroughly and form oval shaped patties.
• Beat the eggs in a bowl and keep aside.
• Spread the breadcrumbs in a large, flat plate and keep aside.
• Take each patty or cutlet, dip well in the egg mixture and roll in the breadcrumbs till coated evenly. Do this for all cutlets.
• Heat oil in a deep pan and deep fry the cutlets. Serve hot with chutney of choice.

Note. – You can make the cutlets in large batches and store in the freezer. Make sure that the cutlets are coated well with egg and breadcrumbs so that these do not stick to each other.

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