I ate this beef curry since early childhood. I remember often my mum make this curry not only for Eid celebration but also made it when a guest from abroad come to visit, even thought this curry a bit too spicy for their palate but they enjoyed it. We call it grandma’s curry because the recipe handed down from grandma to my mother and aunts. Even though come from the same recipe, but my mum’s curry a bit different with aunt M’s curry. My mum’s curry a bit spicier and thick while aunt M’s curry tastes more like Indian curry.
Unlike Indian curries, this beef curry uses wet paste and coconut milk while India curry uses a dried spices and often use yoghurt and milk. A blend of wet paste and dried spices bring out a complex flavour, balanced by the sweetness of palm sugar and a slightly sour taste from tamarind water. To maximise the flavour try to avoid use a store-bought curry powder. Roast your dried spices individually because each ingredient has its own cooking time.
Grandma’s Beef Curry
- 1 kg beef
- 15 small shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 pieces cardamom
- 500 ml coconut milk
- 500 ml water
- 1/4 cup tamarind water
- 200 gr large red chillies
- 2 tablespoon sweet soy sauce, optional
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar
- 150-200 gr curry powder
- 100 ml oil
- 1 head clove garlic
- 3 cm turmeric, peeled and chopped
- 3 cm ginger, peeled and chopped
- 200 gr coriander
- 50 gr caraway seed
- 2 pieces nutmeg
- 10 cloves
- 1 tablespoon white pepper
- Dry roast each curry powder separately in a pan until aromatic. Grind roasted spices to a very fine powder in a mortar and pestle, sieved to get a refined spice powder. Repeat it two or three times.
- Combine together all the ingredients for curry paste, and pound to a fine paste in a mortar and pestle.
- Cut the beef into your desired size, rub it all over with half curry paste, marinate for about 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over a medium-high heat until sizzling. Stir fry shallots until fragrant and start to caramelised, fry it carefully and keep stirring because you want nice brown and caramelised shallots, not a burnt shallots.
- Add cinnamon, cardamom, and curry paste, fry until fragrant. Add chilli paste then add marinated beef and coat evenly.
- Pour coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then cover and turn to a low heat. Allow simmering for about 30 minutes. Add potato and curry powder. Season with sweet soy sauce, tamarind water and salt. Add coconut cream and cook until meat and potato become soft and tender.