Indian Beef Curry

Vegetable Curry

A cousin to Punjabi Vegetable Curry, Beef Curry is basically an Indian style meat and potatoes. Comforting and hearty with soul warming spices like cinnamon, the braised meat gives this dish a slow cooked flavor you crave on those freezing cold winter nights. Serve with Sauteed Cabbage in White Wine or by itself with just rice and Raita (shown here).

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or fat skimmed from basic braised beef)
3 tablespoons curry powder (or 1 tablespoon each ground coriander and cumin, 1/2 tablespoon turmeric)
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 medium red bliss potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 – 3/4 cup stock or broth
1 recipe Basic Braised Beef
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat oil or fat in heavy wide pan, and add mustard seeds. Just before seeds begin to pop, lower heat and add remaining spices: curry powder, cinnamon, and black pepper. Stir for 2 minutes, then add diced potatoes. Season with salt.

Stir in Basic Braised Beef. Add the stock and cover. Simmer over low heat until meat and potatoes are completely tender. Add more stock or broth as needed to ensure meat and potatoes do not dry out. Stir in cayenne pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serves 6.

 

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Basic Braised Beef

meats

Instead of writing an introduction for this staple recipe, I am copying in the one my grandmother provided in “The Art of Good Cooking”. I found that it explained the recipe quite well and answered any questions I had regarding the technique used.

“In my experience, browning the meat before braising only toughens the meat and creates smoke. Theoretically, browning is supposed to seal the juices in, but why, then, is it possible to have absolutely succulent boiled beef, which is not browned at all? Here is my recipe for braised beef which can also be turned into curry, chili, paprikash, or any kind of stew you would like it to be. It can be kept in the refrigerator as long as a week- even a bit longer if you take the trouble to reheat it to boiling point every few days. To make this properly, you need a heavy pot with a tight-fitting, heavy lid.”

I personally prefer to brown the meat for both flavor and color, but I will discuss the differences between the two methods in a later post.

3 pounds beef chuck roast cut into 1″ cubes or beef stew meat
2 onions chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup stock or broth
salt and pepper

Place beef in a heavy pot. Add onions, garlic, and some salt and pepper. Cover tightly. Place in a 325 degree oven. When meat and other ingredients begin to simmer, add stock or broth.

Continue to braise meat in covered pot for 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is barely tender. Skim off fat from top.

Serves 6.

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Rich Chocolate Velvet Cake

Chocolate Velvet Cake Slice

 


As the name suggests, this is an extremely rich luxurious cake that should probably come with the warning: for die hard chocolate lovers only. Not to be confused with red velvet cake, the sponge cake lined thick mousse center is in it’s own category of cakes. At first taste of the filling, the richness is overwhelming as the coffee brings out the dark tones in the thick chocolate but finishes with just a hint of sweet Grand Marnier. The sponge cake lining is frosted with just lightly sweetened whipped cream that balances the many different strong and subtle flavors of this velvety indulgence. Before you know it, that large slice you thought was too rich to finish, is gone.

1 recipe Basic Sponge Sheet 9 x 13
12 oz semisweet chocolate chopped
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup strong coffee
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
3 egg whites
pinch salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

For the frosting:
2 cups heavy cream, whipped with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1-2 teaspoons Grand Marnier, 1-2 tablespoons sugar, and gelatin (to stabilize for longer shelf life) – see note.

Completely line 1/2 quart mold or loaf pan with basic sponge cake by cutting out one large piece to fit the bottom of the mold; then, from remaining cake, cut out one long or two short strips to cover the sides. Reserve any sponge sheet left to make into a top later on.

Melt chocolate (careful not to burn it) over very low heat. Add egg yolks, coffee, Grand Marnier. Stir together until smooth and heated through. Cool.

Beat egg whites with salt until they hold soft peaks. Add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition. Continue beating 5 more minutes, or until very stiff.

Fold unsweetened whipped cream and stiffly beaten egg whites together. Fold in about 1/4 cup of egg white cream mixture into cooled chocolate to lighten. Pour chocolate mixture into remaining egg white mixture. Fold in gently but thoroughly.

Pour into sponge cake-lined mold. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or until filling is firm.

Cover with remaining sponge sheet, fitting together any bits and pieces if there isn’t a single piece large enough. Loosen sides of the mold with a sharp knife. Turn out upside down on a plate.

Frost all over with whipped cream frosting. Chill if not serving immediately. Chocolate Velvet maybe frozen before frosted, if necessary.

Note: To prepare whipped cream with gelatin, soften 1/2 teaspoon of gelatin (for each cup of cream) with a tablespoon cold water. Set over a pan of boiling water (or double boiler) until gelatin dissolves and looks clear. Beat dissolved gelatin, sugar, extract, and liqueur into the cream just as the cream begins to thicken.

Adapted by Megan Peck

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Basic Sponge Sheet

Sponge Cake Sheet

4 eggs
pinch salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sifted corn starch
1/4 cup sifted flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 11 x 16 jelly roll pan or a 9 x 13 pan and line with parchment paper.

Separate eggs. Beat egg whites with salt until they hold soft peaks. Gradually beat in sugar, sprinkling it in a little at a time. Continue beating until whites are very firm, about 5 minutes in all.

Stir yolks with a fork to break them up. Add vanilla. Fold a quarter of the stiffly beaten egg whites thoroughly into egg yolks. Pour egg yolk mixture on top of remaining whites. Sprinkle corn starch and flour over mixture. Fold all very gently together until no pieces of egg white show. Careful not to overmix.

Pour into prepared pan, spreading batter evenly. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cake is very lightly browned.

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Punjabi Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry

Adapted from “The Art of Good Cooking”

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of Indian style recipes in “The Art of Good Cooking.” This was the first one I tried from the book and to be honest, I was skeptical. I first experienced well made tasty Indian food in high school. I say “well made” because prior to this, my experience with Indian food consisted of overly spicy burning your entire mouth to the point that you can’t taste and might as well be eating canned dog food mixed with oil and heavy cream. My stepmother introduced me to healthier, flavorful dishes, mostly of north Indian decent.
This recipe uses curry powder which was more available than spices such as turmeric, cumin, and ground coriander that curry powder can (but not always) be essentially comprised of.
A vegetarian dish that if served with rice and a side of Raita is easily a full satisfying meal. It has over 5 different vegetables which makes the dish more lively, and each one is easy to find and inexpenive. Like most curries, a fair number of ingredients are needed for this recipe. I find that each one creates a distinct layer of flavor within the dish that contributes to the overall highly spiced (but not necessarily hot and spicy-that’s up to you) multi-fascited profile. This is no boring dish.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 large onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated or minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder (or 1 tablespoon each ground coriander and cumin, 1 /2 tablespoon turmeric)
1 fresh serrano pepper or cayenne pepper to taste
1 small cauliflower cut into florettes
2 red potatoes peeled and diced
1/2 – 3/4 cup stock (or as needed)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 pound fresh green beans trimmed and cut in half (or 1 package frozen green beans)
1 package frozen peas
1 lemon juiced
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When seeds begin to pop, stir in green pepper, onions, garlic, serrano pepper if using and ginger, and saute until tender. Add curry powder, cayenne if using, salt, and pepper. Add cauliflower and diced potatoes and toss in spice mixture. Add stock and tomato sauce. Cover pot and simmer over medium low until potatoes and cauliflower are tender – add more stock if needed. Add green beans, then peas. Continue to cook until all vegetables are tender. Do not allow to dry out too much. Alternatively, you may turn up the heat at the end if there is too much liquid – there should not be too much sauce surrounding the vegetables. Add lemon juice. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and shredded coconut. Serve with fluffy steamed basmati or jasmine rice and Raita.

Serves 6-8

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