“Don’t freak out” is how my daughter greets me when I pick her up from school when she’s done poorly on a spelling test or lost a mitten or, last time, both lost her mittens and bombed her spelling test. I start this post by saying to you, “Don’t freak out” because this is not a pantry recipe. There’s a good chance you’ll have to pick up some of the ingredients. And there’s some chopping to be done. But like most stews, it is very easy to execute (no superpowers required) and totally worth building up your spice rack for.
Last week, I wrote about “gluten free food” being a bit of a disappointment. That is to say wheat and gluten substitutes were a disappointment, either for the way they tasted or for their ingredients. Now all you gluten free lovers and purveyors out there don’t get your knickers in a knot. I’m new to this game and I’m discovering things daily. I’m also entitled to a little self pity. I know gluten free can be good. I just think it has to be good first and gluten free second, y’ know?
This got me thinking about a dinner party I threw about 10 years ago. One of our guests asked if he could bring his new girlfriend at the last minute. I did not know her or that she had a host of dietary restrictions. After dinner she looked at me and said “I haven’t been able to eat out in years! But I was able to eat everything you served. And it was all soooo good!” A cook never forgets praise (even if it does come from someone who hadn’t eaten out in years). As it turns out, I made a meal, start to finish, sans wheat without even thinking about it. Imagine what I’ll be able to do when I really try!
The menu that night: green salad, Nigella Lawson’s aloo gobi, beef curry,steamed green beans, basmati rice and a flourless chocolate cake.
I’m not sure what, if anything, you’ll be celebrating this weekend. Easter, Passover, Spring? In my house, we’ll be celebrating my husband’s birthday and he’s mad for Indian food and my beef curry. So, I’ll be serving up this bad boy. A co-worker gave me the recipe in 2002.
- 1 kilo beef
- 8 spring onions tops chopped
- 2 yellow onions chopped
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 4 sprigs curry leaves (40 leaves / 1/4 cup)
- 1 heaping tsp chopped fresh giner
- 3 cardamon seeds
- 2 bayleaves
- 2 tbsp chives, chopped
- 2-4 green chillies chopped – this is your heat so go for it at your taste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 TBS white vinegar
- ¼ cup oil
- ¼ cup of coriander leaves
- 1 tsp garum masala
- 2 tins plum tomatoes
- salt and black pepper to taste.
Heat oil and sauté onions, garlic, ginger, chives and chili together until onions are translucent.
While the onions are cooking, measure out all the dry spices and mix in a separate dish.
Now that the onion mixture is cooked through, stir in the spices then pour vinegar over top and give it a final stir.
If you are using dried cilantro add it to the onion mixture along with your spice.
If you are using fresh cilantro add shortly before serving.
Transfer onion mixture to a large heavy bottomed pot and add tomatoes and your bay leaves.
Brown the meat in the seasoned onion pan.
Be careful not to crowd the meat, it may take several batches depending on the size of your pan. Once browned, transfer the beef to pot and let simmer until the meat is tender. 2 -3 hours depending on how high your heat.
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