Saturday, October 8, 2011

beef vindaloo

This dish said to be brought to Goa by the Portuguese, -- vin =wine, ahlo = garlic-- is now thoroughly Indian. It is at once a stew, and a pickle. The wine-garlic connection reminds me of all the other red wine - garlic - bouquet garni soups/stews of Europe. Here, the spices are Indian.  Usually made with pork, it works well with a variety of meats, and fish, and every cook seems to have his/her own mix of spices, and ways in which they are dealt with - some are ground from whole form, some are used in powder form etc. The idea is to get the spices as fresh as possible. I am not averse to using powders, (as long as they are not from Jambavan's time) esp when there is a time constraint.
This recipe is adapted from a  recipe by  Mrs K. M.Mathew,  the original Malayali Julia Child from Kottayam.  And this is quite hot.

beef vindaloo


2 lbs beef, cubed

1st set:

20 Kashmiri chillies
1'' piece ginger, cut in small pieces
4 flakes of garlic, slightly crushed -- just hit it with the tenderizer once and the skin comes off too
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1tsp peppercorn
1/2 cup water

2nd set :

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 cups onion, sliced thin
2 medium size tomatoes, chopped

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp garlic flakes, sliced
1 tsp ginger, sliced thin

2 tbsp vinegar, regular white, mixed with
1/4 tsp sugar or another 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 cup oil

Clean and drain the cubed meat.

Soak the spices in the 1st set in water for half an hour. Grind them all together. You may soak this paste in the vinegar, if you like. And then marinate the beef in this mixture overnight or for a few hours. Or you could just leave it alone, and add the vinegar later. I did not do the whole marination thing, btw.

Heat oil. Add the mustard seeds from the second set. Reduce the heat, if it's smoking. We don't want them burned. Let'em pop. Add onions and saute till light brown. At this point, some cooks remove the onion and puree it.
Others puree onions first and then saute it till brown. Again, I chose the easier way -- the one with sliced onions. Didn't have the heart to overkill. :)

Okay, where were we? The onions are almost brown. Add the turmeric now. Stir once or twice. Add the chopped, red tomatoes. Now, here's another chance to wait around scratchin' your head, metaphorically. I microwave the tomatoes for 1 to 2 minutes, till they are soft, then add it to the onion. This will reduce the frying time of tomatoes. Because, one secret to a great tasting dish is properly cooked tomatoes. Now keep stirring, till the oil separates, and the tomato -- onion mix is a dark red.

Add the ground paste -- the first set -- now. Saute.

Add the meat. Again, some prefer to brown the meat with a little marinade.  The meat is then removed and set aside, while the onion is pureed. Needless to say, I browned the meat in the onion and ground masala mix. No removings and setting asides. Stir well. Pour in the red wine vinegar, that we had decided to leave alone. Stir again. May add salt at this point. Add enough water to cover the meat , Cover and let it come to a boil. Now reduce heat and  cook on medium-low heat till the meat is done. Could take around 2 hours. I should say it is getting marinated slow and nice on the stove. ;) Stir it around once in a while, we do not want a burnt stew.  Once the meat is cooked, raise the heat and let the sauce reduce to your desired consistency. Meanwhile, add the last set of ginger-garlic slices, and  pour in the last of the vinegar. Let it simmer some more. Adjust salt.

braided mini breads
 Serve hot with rice, bread, or Indian rotis.

This version is quite hot. Also, instead of the 20 whole chillies, we may use 4 tsp kashmiri chilli powder or 2 tsp kashmiri and 2 tsp regular red chilli powders. For those who want it milder, use 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder or 2-3 whole ones. And, if you do not feel like soaking and grinding the masalas, use  powders.
And in spite of all the shortcuts, the dish turned out delicious, and will be even more, the next day.

i will post the recipe for the bread soon. :)


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