Curry? While a firm favourite with many, it doesn’t seem ‘cultured’ enough for a dinner party. That’s what I thought but this recipe I tweaked from Hardeep Singh Kohli’s ‘Oxtail Curry’ is always well received. From the cook’s point of view, it’s perfect. Yes, there’s a bit of preparation and cooking at the start but once it’s in the oven, there’s about two hours free until serving. The dish is so rich, all that’s needed is Naan Bread or plain Basmati Rice.
What’s so good about this recipe? For me, it’s the spicing. When I read the recipe first, I found the measures a bit daunting. Everything else is a teaspoon of this and a half teaspoon of that where as this recipe calls for more robust flavouring. It all makes for a deliciously, deep-flavoured sauce. And there’s something about the spices chosen too – they all tend to be larder essentials so there’s no sourcing anything unusual in far away Asian Markets.
Meat? I made the original recipe with oxtail and it was totally sublime. Getting good quality, meaty and affordable, oxtail, however, is not always possible so I tried this with rib steak and it worked perfectly. This cut of steak is great for slow cooking and absorbs the flavour more effectively than other cuts.
The recipe is great as it is. I couldn’t resist experimenting but when I did, it never turned out as nice as the original. The sauce is very rich so I thought maybe I would use tinned tomatoes instead of passata to make it lighter. What a mistake! It was nice but it was not half as nice as when passata is used. I learnt my recipe.
This is Beef Curry with no substitutions!
Other praise for this recipe? Apart from the fact that it is all cooked in the same heavy casserole dish, it is gluten free, nut free and dairy free. Oh, and it’s even better the next day!
2lbs rib steak, cut in equal chunks
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 star anise
4 cardamon pods, lightly bruised with the back of a knife
4 large red onions, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped (preferably a Scotch Bonnet)
1.5 inch piece ginger, grated
½ orange, 3 strips of pared zest and the juice
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ground coriander
11 fluid ounces passata
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
Serve with plain boiled Basmati rice
1. Preheat the oven to 180C
2. Chop the onions, garlic and chilli as finely as possible
3. Grate the ginger
4. Heat the oil to a medium heat in a heavy casserole dish. Add the cumin seeds and allow to sizzle for a minute (be careful not to let them burn)
5. Add the star anise, cardamon pods and peppercorns, cooking for one minute
6. Reducing the heat, add the onion, ginger, chilli and garlic and cook until the onions start to become soft (about ten minutes)
7. Add the orange zest and continue to cook the onions for another ten minutes (or until they look carmelised)
8. Add the tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes
9. Add in the turmeric, garam masala and ground coriander and stir through the mix. At this point, add salt and ground black pepper (more can be added at the end)
10. Increasing the heat, add the meat chunks. Cook for about 3 minutes to brown the pieces
11. Add the passata and bring to a simmer. Include the bay leaves too
12. Place the lid on the casserole dish and ransfer to the oven, reducing the heat to 150C after about 10 minutes. Cook for one hour
13. Stir in the orange juice and allow to cook for another 30 minutes
14. Take the dish out and leave covered for another 20-30 minutes while the plain Basmati rice is cooking