Beef & Potato Curry with Yoghurt Gravy

  • 5 medium red or yellow waxy potatoes, cubed
  • 3 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 3/4 c vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs stewing beef or lamb
  • 2 t garam masala
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • 1 1/4 t cumin seeds
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  •  3 fresh hot green chillies, minced
  • 2 dried red chillies, crushed
  • 2 t grated ginger-root
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 t paprika (not hot)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 c plain yoghurt
  • 2 1/2 c water
  • chopped green chillies and chopped cilantro to garnish

Cook the sliced onions in a large, deep pot (preferably enameled cast iron) over medium-high heat until browned, about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, mix the beef or lamb with the garam masala and 3/4 t salt. Wash and cut potatoes. Mix yoghurt with ginger, garlic, red and green chillies, paprika and salt. Very lightly crush cardamom pods, remove seeds and discard the husks.

Remove onions from pot draining out oil as you do so. Remove all but 4 T of oil from pot and set aside. Sauté meat on medium-high until well browned in 2-3 batches depending on size of your pot, adding in some of the reserved oil between batches if needed. During the last batch add in the curry leaves and during the last 2 minutes the cumin and cardamom seeds and cinnamon sticks. Add all the meat back to the pot along with the onions and stir to heat through, 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in the yoghurt mixture and cook for a few minutes until the garlic and ginger are just cooked and the oil separates out from the yoghurt mixture.

Add the water and scrape up any fond that has developed on the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until meat is barely tender but not overdone, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add in potatoes and simmer another 20 minutes with the lid off until potatoes are cook through and the sauce has reduced and thickened up. Adjust with salt and add more water if sauce is too thick.

Serve with hot basmati rice, naan, and fresh chopped green chillies and cilantro.

Indonesian Rendang Curry

2 lbs cubed beef, bison, or lamb

2 medium onions, chopped rough
3 large garlic cloves
2″ fresh ginger root, peeled

1 2/3 C coconut milk

3 t coriander seeds (2 t ground)
1 t green peppercorns
3/4 t fennel seeds (1/2 t ground)
10 cloves (1/4 t ground)
4 small red chilli peppers (piri piri or bird’s eye), chopped very finely (or 1-2 t red pepper flakes, ground)
2 t cumin
1 t turmeric

1 stem of lemon grass, white part only, minced

zest of 1/2 lemon
2 T lemon juice
1 T brown sugar (or palm sugar if you have it)

Brown the meat in a large heavy-bottomed pot, working in two batches. Meanwhile, toast the whole spices (coriander, pepper, fennel, cloves, and red pepper flakes if you don’t have chilis) in a small sauté pan over low heat until fragrant. Put them into a spice grinder or small food processor and grind. You can also use pre-ground spices, but it won’t be as fragrant or fresh. Purée the onions, garlic, and ginger in a food processor or blender until smooth. You may need to add a little water if you use a blender. Crush the white end of the lemon grass with the side of your knife, and finely chop (do not use the woody green parts).

After the meat has been browned, remove from the pot, and add in the coconut milk. Let reduce by about half. Add in the spices and stir for about 1 min, then add the meat back in. Add the puréed onion mixture, lemon grass, chilis (if used), lemongrass, lemon juice, and sugar.

Now simmer over medium-low to low heat for about two hours, stirring frequently (about every 10 min or so). The liquid will reduce and the mixture will start to brown. Once it starts to brown, you’ll have to stir it almost constantly to keep it from sticking and burning. The curry is done when the oil from the coconut milk has separated out from the sauce, and the curry is dark brown, and reduced almost totally. Cook it until the meat chunks are coated with the sauce, and there is little to no sauce elsewhere in the pot, but don’t cook until it is totally dry.

Serve in a bowl over medium-grain rice, and whatever vegetable side-dish you desire.

If you have the time, make this 2-3 days ahead, and store in the fridge, allowing the flavours to develop and mature even more.