There is nothing like creating memories with traditional recipes , like the special dishes that mom and grandma makes ; especially when you miss home and your parents the most !
Yeah I miss my mom , my dad and you my dooda!
You know what I do when I wanna recharge my batteries and give an emotional break? I try to recreate the smell and flavor of Ammachi's and Amma's kitchen ; this time Amamchi's special slow cooked naadan beef curry won the toss. Its been so long since we made beef , cos of the healthy diet regime I was blah blah-ing about in last two posts . So the making of this curry was exciting to my taste buds and emotionally enticing !
What's special about Grandma's Beef curry , you might think! Well , she makes it in the old fashioned "Aduppu" , in a wide mouthed Manchatti - Clay pot , and slow cook it for 1.5 to 2 hours.
The smoke , the uniform heat and the clay pot imparts a unique flavor to the dishes , making it the best est ever and the hardest one to replicate.
Don't forget the fact that this kind of "slow cooked in manchatti" beef curry is widely popular in the ubiquitous Thattukada( street stalls) and Chayakada( Tea shops) , accompanied with hot hot kerala parotta , back in Kerala.
When my mom said she made it last day , it triggered my lust for the best and I badly wanted to dive into the comfort of those succulent meat rich with intense flavors.
Since making this in the traditional Aduppu was simply out of the question in my smoke detector filled house, I tried to imitate it in the best possible way I could. Bake it , just like we make the classic American or Irish Beef stew and use the same cast iron cooking pot to retain the heat...I reduced the qty of spices from grandma's original recipe since i cant handle that much heat now , after 3 plus years of living away from home.
The result ,amazingly delicious "melt-in-the-mouth" beef, bursting with flavors,; with a grin, close to my Kuttanadan grandma's.
Serves - 4
Total cooking time :- 30 minutes marination + 1.5 to 2 hours cooking time
Beef - 1 kg ( I used stew meat)
Bowl 1 :-To marinate Beef
Red chilli powder - 1 to 1.5 tea spoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tea spoon
Garam Masala(Homemade) - 1 tea spoon
Lightly crush - 3 cloves of garlic , a small piece of ginger and 1/2 to 1 tea spoon black pepper ,in a mortar and pestle.
Salt to taste
Vinegar - 1 to 1.5 tea spoon
To saute :-( Increase or decrease the spices and powders as per your tolerance)
Oil - 2 -3 table spoons
Fennel seeds - a large pinch
1 cinnamon stick , 3-4 cloves , 1 bay leaf , 2-3 cardamom and a handful of curry leaves
Onion finely chopped - 2 medium or shallots chopped 1 cup
Garlic chopped - 4-5 cloves
Ginger chopped - 2 cm piece
Green chili chopped - 1or 2
Coconut cuts ( thenga kothu) - 1/2 cup
Tomato chopped - 1 small
Red chili powder - 1 tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1.5 to 2 tablespoon or as per your taste level.
Garam masala( Homemade) - 1/2 to 1 tea spoon
Potato - 2 medium peeled and diced
Water - 2-3 cups
Black pepper - 1/2 tea spoon , lightly crushed
(An update :- A friend of mine made this and made a suggestion to increase the qty of chili and coriander powder . he added 2 tablespoons of red chili powder( marinated with 1 tablespoon and added while sauteeing one tablespoon) and 3 tablespoons of coriander powder in total . so if you are that spice loving person, use these measurements. Thanks P for the tip :) )
Clean and cut the beef into 1 inch pieces. Rinse well , till the water runs clear .
Marinate the beef cubes with all the ingredients in Bowl 1 and keep aside for at least 30 minutes. If keeping for more time , refrigerate it.
1) Heat oil in an cooking pot that can be used in oven also ( for baking) or any heavy cooking pot or claypot ( for stove top method) or pressure cooker ( a le creuset cast iron enameled pan or martha stewarts' works best for making in oven and stove top)
2 ) Add fennel seeds , whole spices and curry leaves, fry for a minute or two.
3 ) Add chopped onion and saute for 5-7 minutes , add ginger and garlic and saute till brown.
4 ) Slide in coconut cuts and fry for a couple of minutes and add chopped tomato and saute for 2 minutes.
5 ) Add chilli , coriander and garam masala powder ,and the marinated beef ,cubed potato, combine everything well and saute for 3-5 minutes.
6) Add 2 to 3 cups of water( depends on your cooking pot) , bring to boil and let it stand on medium flame for 10 minutes.
Stove top method :- Let it cook covered for 1 hour in a low-medium flame , giving one or two occasional stir.Uncover it check water and add more if needed and add 1/2 tea spoon crushed black pepper.
Cook it again for another 30-45 minutes in low flame, checking in between for salt and water. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 15 minutes before serving!
Pressure cooker method:- Add only a cup of water or less and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles or more depending on your cooker. Uncover it , add pepper , salt and water if needed and cook on low flame for another 20-30 minutes .
Oven method:- Preheat oven to 350 degree F , while you start cooking.
Increase the temperature to 375 degree F .After boiling for 10 minutes in Step 6 , transfer the oven proof cooking pot to the oven and cook covered for 1 hour ..( Don't forget to cover it with the lid).After 1 hour take it out , give a salt check , add 1/2 tea spoon crushed black pepper , add 1 more cup of water if needed and return to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes or until its is soft . Remove from oven and let stand for another 15 minutes before serving.
- Know the strength of your gas flame , before making this and adjust the cooking time thus!
- Using heavy bottomed cooking vessel is very important for slow cooking , else the water will be absorbed fast.
- Check for water in between to avoid curry sticking to the bottom!
- I made in a cast iron cooking pot or Dutch oven which can be used both in oven and stove top!
- Add spices as per your taste and the recipe calls for medium spicy beef curry.
- Those who cant handle the heat , substitute chilli powder with kashmiri chilli powder or paprika
Happy Eating !