Monday, 8 October 2012

South Indian Beef Curry with Rice or Quinoa

SmartCooks here.

The Canadian three-day holidays are just fine.  Almost over though.  Darn.  I'm leaving on a jet plane again tomorrow... this time to Halifax and then C'Town, then next week across the country to various locations talking to the regional folks. Wish I had good news to impart ... tough six months ahead.  

As I expected with this new position ... month 3 ... blogging is difficult.  Cooking is difficult.  Eating healthy is difficult. Carving out 45 minutes 2x a week for Greco's personal training is difficult as is timing a rockin' Goodlife cardio class.  

To take back life, I found a delicious recipe in my Food and Wine app for South Indian Beef Curry with Rice.  I skipped the fragrant basmati rice in favour of a medley of quinoa (black, red, and white) mixed with a bit of leftover Israeli couscous.  The dish was a completely divine Saturday dinner-with-movie affair, definitely worth searching out boneless beef short ribs at the butcher and asking him or her to cut it into 3/4 inch slices or, better yet, cubes.  Saslove's Meat Market even found me local hormone ones, much to my delight.  No worries about any XL meat in my life.   

South Indian Beef Curry is super simple to prepare, a one-pot meal, that simmers for 90 minutes to end up a tender, well-blended, not too hot, meal.  It's a keeper.  All the spices can be found at whatever local version of a Herb and Spice you have in your area, including the dried Chili Peppers (left) that are a staple of mine for Thai and Indian curries.  

South Indian Cuisine

I did a bit of research to understand the style and characteristics of South Indian cuisine.  I couldn't possibly do it justice here but most sites seem to agree that most South Indian food is based on some type of rice, often eaten with a curry.  Food tends to have a generous, but balanced, amount of spices in both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes of the region.  Tempering of dishes tends to include a mixture of oil, curry leaves, red chiles etc.  So... 


South Indian Beef Curry with Rice  


2 T canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
12 fresh curry leaves (hard to find so I used dry) or 2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, grated
4 tsp finely grated and peeled fresh ginger 
1 T tomato paste (the tubes of tomato paste are fabulo), dissolved in 1/2 cup of water
2 tsp ground coriander 
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
4 small dried hot chiles
4 star anise pods (pictured, right) 
2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1 3/4 lbs boneless beef short ribs, 
cut into 3/4 inch pieces 
Salt (I used kosher salt)


In a heavy-bottomed or cast-iron casserole, heat the canola oil until shimmering.

Add the onion and curry leaves and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. 

Add the garlic and ginger and cook until aromas develop, about 1 minute.

Stir in the tomato paste dissolved in water, along with the coriander, garam masala, cayenne, turmeric, dried chiles, star anise and cinnamon sticks.  

Add the ribs, season with salt and stir until coated with the spices.  Cover partially and cook over very low heat until the meat is tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  

Spoon off any fat and discard the star anise, cinnamon sticks and any bay leaves, if using.  I also took out some of the dried chiles.

Serve over rice e.g., basmati or whole wheat.  Quinoa, Israeli couscous or any type of whole grain are always options.

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