On Thursday evening Alberto was getting back from Spain late, and I was cleaning the oven, so I needed something that could be done on the hob and with very little preparation, and which could be easily re-heated. Flicking through Dinner, I came across this recipe – it looked full of flavour and easy to do, and I do love a tasty curry, so I thought I’d plunge in. It takes a couple of hours so it’s not a quick meal but it is fairly straightforward and, once it is all in the saucepan and simmering nicely it only really needs stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking. (So I could get on with cleaning the oven. Oh the glamour!)
1-1.5kg of braising steak, diced
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
A good pinch of dried chillies
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2-3 good glugs of olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced
3” piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 sticks of lemongrass, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of soft brown sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
800ml of coconut milk
Chopped coriander leaves to garnish
1 red pepper, de-seeded and roughly chopped (optional) (This was my own addition as I felt that the curry was a little bit lacking in actual vegetables.)
Serve with Basmati rice
Put all of the spices in a large saucepan and gently heat to roast the spices. Remove from the heat and crush the spices. (I poured the warm spices into a pestle and mortar which was a bit of a mistake as the warm turmeric adhered to the rough stone of the bowl and I probably lost about a quarter of it. On reflection I should have used the end of a rolling pin to crush the spices in the saucepan. Whichever way I do it I never seem to grind the coriander seeds quite finely enough and they add a husk-y texture to the finished dish. Ah well, I’ll try better next time!)
Add the olive oil to the crushed spices in the saucepan. Then add in the garlic, onion, ginger and lemongrass and sweat for a few minutes until starting to soften.
Add the meat to the pan and mix so that it is well coated with the spices, season well with salt and pepper and then sprinkle over the sugar. Turn up the heat a little so that the meat browns but make sure that the spices don’t burn.
Add the coconut milk, stir well and bring to a simmer. After a couple of minutes turn the heat down to low and cook for at least two hours. I left it uncovered for the first hour, so that the sauce would reduce a bit, but then covered it for the second hour so that it didn’t reduce too much. Stir regularly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
If, like me, you’re adding some diced red pepper, stir it in when there is about half an hour of cooking time left to go.
After two hours the meat should be nice and tender and the sauce thick.
Serve garnished with coriander leaves.