Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Beef Korma

I made this dish shortly after our Indian food fest this past Labor Day weekend when Elaine and Dan were over. Even though it was on the menu, we simply had too much food for it to make it into our final spread. Anyways, here's my adaptation of the lamb korma recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's An Invitation to Indian Cooking, a well-worn paperback edition which I've had in my cookbook repository for more than 20 years. This time around, I used a good quality beef stew meat instead of leg of lamb or lamb shoulder because these are quite seasonal in our area, appearing mostly only during the holiday seasons (Easter, Christmas, New Years, etc.). Korma is, according to Wiki, a traditional braised curry from India and Pakistan with roots in 16th century Mughlai cuisine, and typically consists of meat (beef, lamb or chicken), assorted spices, coconut and yogurt. The dish can be mild or quite spicy, depending on your taste. Madhur Jaffrey's version incorporates a wonderfully fragrant blend of tomato, onion, garlic, ginger, and fresh chiles. So delicious!

3 lbs. good quality beef stew meat (e.g., beef chuck shoulder roast) or lamb shoulder, or boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 1/2" cubes. 

Vegetable Mixture for the Sauce:
2 onions, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 1" pieces of fresh ginger, chopped
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
2 serrano chiles, chopped
1 tsp. turmeric

3 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut

Vegetable oil

5 green cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
7 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves 
1 2" stick of cinnamon
2 dried red chiles

2 tbsp. plain yogurt (I prefer Greek)
2-3 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. garam masala

Chopped fresh cilantro
Fried onions
Pinch of freshly ground green cardamom pods
Sliced fresh serrano or jalapeno chiles
Mango Chutney http://thegrubfiles.blogspot.com/2013/09/mango-chutney.html

1. Blend the vegetable mixture in a blender or food processor until just smooth. Set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat and dry roast the ground coriander, cumin and coconut for a couple minutes until fragrant (do not burn). Remove the spices to a plate or container and set aside.

3. In the same skillet, heat 3 tbsp. of vegetable oil over medium heat until quite hot, then add the cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon, and dried red chiles. Stir briefly until fragrant then add the meat (do not overcrowd - cook in batches as needed or else the meat will steam rather than brown). Turn heat up to high to ensure the meat browns nicely. Remove meat & spices to a platter when browned.

4. For the sauce: In the same pan, heat 1-2 tbsp. of oil over medium high heat. Add the blended tomato mixture and stir constantly (watch out as it may splatter). Cook for 3-4 minutes until somewhat reduced, then add the reserved toasted spices. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the yogurt. 

5. Add the browned meat and salt. Feel free to add a little water if there's not enough sauce to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook 1 hour or until the meat is very tender. Stir in the garam masala and cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in a couple tablespoons of fresh cilantro.

6. Serve with garnishes, mango chutney, and steamed basmati rice on the side. 

Serrano chiles, garlic, onion, fresh bay leaves, dried red chiles, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, black peppercorns, ground coriander, ground cumin, garam masala, ground turmeric. 

Tomato mixture, blended in a blender.

Beef stew meat.

Toast the ground coriander, cumin and unsweetened coconut in a dry skillet.

Briefly saute the cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon, and dried red chiles.

Brown the meat in batches so as not to overcrowd and end up steaming the meat. Remove and set aside.

Add the tomato mixture to the pan and reduce cook down, stirring frequently, for several minutes.

Add the toasted spice mixture.

Stir in the yogurt. Add the meat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is very tender.

Add the garam masala and cook another 5 minutes.

Add a couple pinches (2 tbsp.) of fresh cilantro.

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