First, let’s get our terminology right…
Cooks in India typically use the word “curry” when referring to something with a sauce or gravy, rather than a specific blend of spices.
The word curry was created by the British when they ruled India. It was their rendition of the Tamil word “kari”, meaning sauce.
Now the term is used to mean almost any stew-type of food from India.
Most of us Americans mistakenly use the word “Curry” when we’re actually talking about a “Masala” (meaning a mix of spices.)
Many of us, when we hear the word “masala” immediately think of Garam Masala, the popular Indian spice mix. “Garam” means warm or hot, and there are probably as many different recipes for Garam Masalas as there are grandmother’s in India…and there are a LOT of grandmother’s in India! 😉
Personally, this is my favorite curry recipe…
Beef Masala Curry
- 2 lbs stew beef, 2 inch cubes
- 1 lg yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cup fresh peeled and crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp garam masala (store-bought or see my recipe, below)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (opt)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 C sugar
- 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter), or olive oil
- 1 cup strong beef stock
- 1 cup coconut cream
Beef Masala Curry: The Meat
Pat beef cubes dry. (Remember, wet meat doesn’t brown, it turns grey.) Sprinkle the cubes with sea salt and black pepper, and toss with flour.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat, add ghee or oil, and brown the beef top and bottom in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
Remove each batch of browned beef cubes to a bowl, and add ghee to the pan as needed.
The Curry Paste
When all of the beef has been browned, add more ghee, the chopped onions, garlic, spices, salt and pepper.
Cook until onions become translucent, for about 5-6 minutes.
Add your crushed tomatoes, brown sugar and cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes.
Pour the mixture into your slow cooker, Instant Pot, or Dutch Oven. and mix in the beef cubes.
(I like to make a double batch of the paste, to use in other recipes throughout the week!)
Add stock, coconut cream, and lemon zest, and stir to combine.
Instant Pot: 25 to 30 minutes
Slow Cooker: 8 hours on low/4 hours on the high
Dutch Oven (350F): 5 hours, stirring once.
If your Beef Masala Curry isn’t as thick as shown here, and you want it to be, switch your Instant Pot to “saute” mode, or place your Dutch Oven (uncovered) on the stove-top, and simmer until reduced, stirring constant.
Serve your Beef Masala Curry over steamed Jasmine steamed rice and top with fresh chopped cilantro, if you like it.
HOME CHEF Note: This is actually my SECOND favorite curry, as I love the richer, slightly gamier flavor of lamb over beef. The rest of the recipe remains the same.
Chef Perry’s Favorite Garam Masala
1/4 cup cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp tellicherry peppercorns
1 tsp cloves
2 dried red chilies
2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Add all of the spices in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Keep cooking until they just start to turn brown, and you can smell the aroma. Be very careful not to let them burn.
Remove from heat and, while still warm, toss it all into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
HOME CHEF Note: This Garam Masala recipe not on;y makes a fantastic curry, but it’s also amazing with potatoes cooked in coconut milk, and makes for a tasty surprise in Deviled Eggs.
Love Curries? Be sure to check out these recipes, as well…
Recipes from “Frugal Fine Cooking ~ A Home Chef’s Guide.”
This is the first in the series of guidebooks delving deeper into specific cooking styles and ingredients discussed in, “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen”
Available on Amazon at: www.perryperkinsbooks.com