Saturday, September 16, 2006

Spicy Beef & Potato Curry



I know there are many of you who probably wonder, me being Indian, not cooking Indian food too often. The truth of the fact is that I have spent my entire life outside India, brought up all around the world that this seems to have influenced a larger part of my adult life too. My parents cooked Indian food everyday for us at home. So, I DID grow up on this cuisine. However, when I moved away from home and took on my life on my own, I found cooking other types of cuisine was simpler, easier, quicker and just different.

Should I tell you a secret? When I left home, my mum was petrified that I might starve to death. I could not cook, you see. That is the honest truth. I was rather spoilt at home and did not have to do much. I never took a keen interest in cooking. I was more interested in sports and doing stuff with my friends. So, when I left home, my mother gave me a cookbook with the words "It is a very simple book - but it will help you!"

Hey Mum! Look at me now!! No seriously, my mother is very proud and totally amazed that after all these years that same girl cooks, blogs about food and photographs food. How wild is that?

Coming back to the Indian food though. When I started experimenting with cooking I found making Indian food too complicated. Making all that onion, ginger, garlic paste or grinding spices for a masala was far too much work. The book my mum gave me was actually for European food. I found the recipes here easy, healthy and delicious. Especially the Italian recipes. See it was actually my mother who planted that first seed for my Italian food craze.

My mother would say "Beta (that actually means Son in Hindi Beti being daughter - my parents used to refer to me as beta as I was the eldest. Don't ask where the sense is in that!) you must try to cook Indian food, how will you survive on that European stuff?"

"Mum, you are the one who bought me that book, so what are you complaining about?"

"Yes, I know but it was because you were going to Europe and I thought it would be fitting."

"So, I am still in Europe and I enjoy the food!"

"Make daal! It is easy and you do not have to put much effort!"

"Yes, mum. I'll make daal tomorrow!"

Now, this is a telephone conversation between a daughter in Germany and her mother in Dubai!

I did NOT make daal. It seems to be solution for everything among Indian parents.
"Eat more Daal!" If you are feeling down "Eat Daal!" Feeling depressed - "Eat Daal!" Feeling energetic and full of life - "Eat Daal!"

Even when I was in San Francisco in May, after days of eating daal, when my cousin Varoon gathered up his courage and dared to say "Mum, I don't want anymore daal!" All he got was a "Shut up! You don't know good food when it is in front of you - just give them pizza and pasta then they are happy. You eat your daal!", from my aunt (whom I love and adore!) Well all of us (my cousin Megha, brother and me) grabbed our spoons and started eating our Daal.

But I am sure you will understand when I say that even though I joke about it, I love Indian food. It is healthy (Daal) and satisfying. Ever since I joined the Blogesphere and got into my little Indian Blog circle I tend to experiment even more with my Indian recipes.

This style of curry I made is something that you would not see very often. Firstly, beef is not very common in India. However, it can be easily substituted with chicken or lamb and for the vegetarians you can use mushrooms or hard boiled eggs. I created a taste that combines all the flavors of India in one dish. The tamarind adds a tangy aroma, combined with the ginger and tomatoes the entire dish became delectable.

I suggest serving it with a simple rice like my Pilaw with mustard and coriander seeds.


Music while cooking

Rishi Rich Featuring Veronica and Juggy D - Aj Kal
Album: The Project - *New on my iPod




Events on WFLH

Monthly Mingle - Take Two
From My Rasoi - Pumpkin




Ingredients:

I have no special amounts to give you for this one as this was made more or less to the feel and the taste. I am sure many Indian housewives will tell you the same as my mum tells me "The most delicious recipes are made with the feel of your own talent for cooking!" For those who are less experimental, a word of encouragement - just go on and give it a try. I do try where ever I could. Simply try adding the other ingredients according to your own taste. Although I followed a basic recipe from a German cookbook for Indian curry it was too European for my taste - how ironic? That is why I spiced it up.

For Bhuna Paste:

Tamarind paste
Tomato Paste
50 g Ginger - mashed
4 Garlic cloves - mashed
2 red onions - finely chopped
1 red chili - finely chopped
Paprika powder
Black Peppercorns
cardamom pod
Cumin seeds
Rape oil

400g Beef rump - cut into cubes
2 large potatoes - cut into cubes
400 ml beef stock
450 g tomatoes - de-seeded and cut into bite size pieces
Salt and pepper to taste



Method:

For the Bhuna paste:
In a large pan heat up the oil and add the cumin seeds, cardamom pod and black peppercorns. For a minute or two cook till the spices have released their aroma. Now one after the other add the rest of the ingredients for the paste. Saute for a few minutes until all the flavors have combined into a thick paste.

Add the potato cubes and cover with the paste. Now add the tomatoes and simmer for a further few minutes.
Add the stock to this mixture and cover with lid. Simmer for a few minutes - approx. 10 minutes.

In a separate pan fry the beef on a high heat quickly until brown. Add this to the potatoes and simmer for a further 10 minutes. If you prefer this curry to be less liquidy then simmer without the lid.

Serve with Pilaw with mustard and coriander seeds.



Verdict

OK this is not Daal, but it is so gooood! The combination of all these spices really was completely satisfying to the soul. We made this one evening when Soeren was away at his granparents for the weekend. It was just perfect - spicy and tangy all at once.

This is the perfect entry for this issue of Weekend Cookbook. The theme being an ingredient from my own country's culture. I have used several and combined them into a paste called Bhuna.

Off to Cate for the ARF 5 A Day Tuesday.

Also for Tony's Curry Mela.



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13 comments :

  1. ur post reminded me of "bend it like beckam" movie.:)
    when i saw ur post, for a moment i was astonished to see inidan food. i even checked back the link. but nice to see a variation.

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  2. This looks utterly fantastic :) And I reckon your mom will be pretty impressed to see what a beautiful dish you've created that taps into your heritage as opposed to your "European stuff" ;)

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  3. My kids would love to devour your other half of Pilaw !! ( Curry, I mean) Most Indian daughters are spoiled before they are married, then comes the grinding stone,hypothetically speaking!! Have hunger, have to cook! No mommy there! Great job!!:)

    Would you like a dessert to go with that? Check out my Mango Cobbler!! Enjoy your weekend!! :D

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  4. So happy to see Indian dishes on your blog. I had my own doubts about you being an Indian!!!(just kidding). Same like your mom, I always think Indians can't survive on non-Indian food :D

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. Dear Meeta,
    Your Anecdotes: Fantastic
    Your Recipe: Fantastic
    Your Fotos: Fantastic
    Need I say more.

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  7. Shaheen I love that film. It was a little like that. But when Indian families get together I guess it is always like that.

    Ellie My mum is just pleased that I have taken so much to cooking. I like all kinds of food and cook according to our cravings. I am lucky that both my guys are pretty cool with my experiments and will give almost anything a go.

    Asha Looks good that cobbler.

    Shilpa Yeah, sometimes I am not sure myself. No, I do have pakka indian blood flowing through my veins.

    Anu No! I do though - Thanks!

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  8. I HEAR YA. I'M GOING THROUGH THE SAME STRUGGLE RIGHT NOW. I WAS BORN AND BROUGHT UP IN THE STATES AND AM AN ONLY CHILD IN THE FAMILY. MY MOM DID ALL THE COOKING AND I JUST SAT BACK AND ENJOYED. NOW THAT I'M MARRIED TO A TYPICAL INDIAN HUSBAND, HE PREFERS ONLY INDIAN COOKING, I AM SOO LOST. I SEARCH THROUGH RECIPES AND ASK MY MOM FOR TIPS. BUT OF COURSE IT'S IRRITATING TO ASK INDIAN MOM'S SINCE THEY NEVER HAVE AN EXACT MEASUREMENT OR EXACT RECIPE FOR ANYTHING. I HAVE TRIED AND TRIED AND SEEM TO BE IMPROVING SLOWLY BUT STILL NOT CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO INVITE FRIENDS/FAMILY OVER FOR A MEAL. I'LL TRY UR RECIPE AND LOOK FORWARD TO MORE OF UR BLOGS. THANKS,

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  9. How can you eat beef being a hindu?? Just because you married a gora that doesn't mean that you should copy him. Aren't your parents gujjus? From what I remember Gujjus do not eat beef. Shame on you !

    A true hindu

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  10. Hi True Hindu!

    Shame you do not stand by your words by leaving your name. Actually I am not a Hindu but a Sikh. So first things cleared, as for eating beef: As we lived our whole lives outside India (I was only born there but at the age of 1 1/2 left) my parents never forced anything on us. They knew only too well how it is to brings kids from different traditions and religions in foreign countries. They (and eventually I too) saw how other Indian families had bigger struggles with their kids adjusting well outside India. Trust me they had bigger issues on had then just eating beef!

    It was important to them that we feel comfortable in our environment and integrate with our social peers. My parents do not eat beef, my brother and I do!

    Our parents gave us all the good values of our tradition, religion and country to bring up two people who are proud to be Indians - it does not change us as people and who we our because we indulge in a burger or a beef curry.

    I am rather sick and tired of being judged as a person and an Indian because, judgmental people like you think you are better than me (or people like me) simply because you think you live the "real" Indian way!

    Yes, I married a gora but I was eating beef before I met him. He has nothing to do with my likings or dis-likings.

    So shame on you for pointing fingers at me. With your silly comment you have insulted me, my husband and my parents in one go.

    So, are you strong enough, as a true Hindu, to share your name and take a stand, instead of hiding behind an anonymous name?

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  11. hi meeta,
    wow.. yr pic of the curry looks really lovely.

    i do have some questions though.... could you please clarify on the quantities of each of the ingredients like the tamrind paste, tompaste, paprika powder, blk pepercorn n cumin...

    itd be really helpful, as im clueless abt the quantities.

    I do understand that the chili level will be governed by taste but if you could just give some guideline on the quantities itd be a real help.

    thanks in advance.. and ps-- 3 cheers for yr reply reg eating beef !! clap clap ! :-)
    caroly.. (whos an indian living in london :-)

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  12. Hi there Caroly,

    Thanks for your comment and feedback.

    Like you said the measurements are really according to ones particular taste and liking. That is the great thing about making paste/masala at home.
    But for a rough reference I would start of by using a tablespoon of tomato paste and a good teaspoon of the tamarind paste. the spices use sparingly and keep tasting until you like the flavor. If you think you need more tomato/tamarind and by the teaspoon until you get the taste that suits you best.
    hope that helps!

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  13. It is always a mesmerizing experience to have delicious Indian cuisines and deserts. However one should know the different dishes and their preparation styles to enjoy the meal as per your preference.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta