Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fragrant Beef Curry with Coconut Milk

My love affair with Indian Food began nine years ago when I was six months pregnant with my first child.  I had spent the first six months throwing up and at six months pregnant I was finally able to enjoy eating again.  We were visiting friends in San Francisco who took us out to eat at a small Indian Restaurant they loved.   I had eaten Indian food before and had enjoyed it, but that night I fell in love.  I was disappointed that my stomach was not larger so that I could have eaten more.  As I sat at the restaurant that night I was determined to make that amazing food a part of my life.  The naan, the curries, even the rice was like biting into a bit of heaven.  Up until that point in my life I thought that rice was rice.  I soon learned that the rice I had at the restaurant was basmati rice.  Basmati rice is now the only kind of rice you will find in my cupboards.

When I returned from my trip I made good on my vow to make Indian food at home.  I turned to what at the time was the only recipe website I used.  Epicurious.  On there I found a recipe for Fragrant Beef Curry.    While it did taste good, it was not amazing.  There was something missing that made it only OK.  A simple substitution of coconut milk for the whole milk did the trick.  When I perfected this recipe I took my first step to a new way of cooking and eating for me.

Fragrant Beef Curry with Coconut Milk

2 pounds boneless beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced
6 whole cloves
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 can coconut milk
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
3 tablespoons Major Grey chutney
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger OR 2 tablespoons ginger paste
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brown the beef in batches on the stove then add to the crockpot.  Saute onions on med low for 5 minutes then add garlic and cook for one minute more.  Add all ingredients (including onions and garlic) to the crockpot with the beef.  Cook on low 7 hours.  Remove cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and cloves (if you can find them), and serve over basmati rice.

You can also cook this on the stove for about two hours in a large pot or dutch oven.

NOTE:  Major Grey is not a brand of chutney but a variety.  You can find it in the ethnic sections of most grocery stores.

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