Monday, February 22, 2010

Beef and Potato Madras Curry

Beef and Potato Madras Curry
Home Cooking

Sometimes, I really dread coming up with material to yak on about in these posts. This is particularly the case for throw-together recipes where the true backstory is nothing more elaborate than "I decided to cook something using what little ingredients I had available". The same applies for most cafe posts because the usual story is that I was wandering around the city thinking "where haven't I tried?" and I'll stop at a new location with the intent of blogging it.

Thankfully I have a genuine backstory to this curry. My grandparents came back to Australia after a trip to the states. One of my cousins gave granddad a gift of curry powder. Apparently, he had researched the products available and found that this particular brand of curry powder was multi-award winning.

I've heard before that making curry out of something labeled 'curry powder' is the ultimate in casting aside any claim to authenticity. That's OK. I won't claim this recipe will produce anything like a traditional Indian curry. The curry powder I'm using was handed to me from my granddad - the brand is 'Sun Brand' and the tin reveals that it's actually produced in USA. My neighbor claims that this powder smells/tastes like any old supermarket curry powder so I'm sure you can substitute.

Beef and Potato Madras Curry
Serves 4

  • 400g chuck steak, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 large potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup beef stock (or water)
  • curry powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • chili flakes
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • garnish with: chopped coriander and natural yogurt

1. In a large frying pan, stir-fry the beef, onion and carrots on high with some oil.
2. Add the curry powder to taste. Add the other spices (cayenne pepper and chili flakes) and adjust to your personal liking.
3. Cover with water or beef stock. Simmer for 20min.
4. In the meantime, boil the potatoes until they're just under-cooked.5. Add the potatoes to the curry in the last minute.
6. Add honey and salt to taste (you could use regular sugar).
7. Stir through gently and serve warm with natural yogurt and coriander.

This curry looks misleadingly slow-cooked but we didn't take very long at all to whip it up. I suppose you could slow-cook the meat to make it more tender but where time is lacking, chose a better cut of meat as this allows you to cook it for less.

Sexy white flesh of potato contrasting against saucy brown

For us, the winning component of this curry dish was the potatoes. Boiling the potatoes separately and adding them in the end is my granddad's method of keeping them waxy and intact. It might be a personal thing but I find that this textural variation really adds a new dimension to the curry. Rather than having mushy, half-dissolved potatoes soaking in the sauce, the whole chunks of just-cooked potato allow them to stand out as a distinct component of the dish.

Curry close-up

We've made variations of this curry with the addition of chickpeas, tomatoes etc. You can get pretty creative. I personally wouldn't mind just potato and beef without carrot but hey, this is up to you.

A portion of this curry was offered to my Indian housemate who a)laughed at the fact that we used beef (apparently not many Indians use beef) but b) said that it tasted pretty good.

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