Beef Vindaloo

I do love a vindaloo. I have a few recipes for it already on this site, but here’s another one, using beef. I ate a delicious beef vindaloo in a goan restaurant in Mumbai, India – traditionally, pork is the main meat – but it can be cooked using all kinds of meat, chicken, lamb, mutton, goat and even duck. I prefer making my own vindaloo to eating it at a restaurant – I find they always bump up the heat with chilli powder at the last minute because they think that’s what people expect, but vindaloo, while hot, shouldn’t be over the top hot. This one has a definite spice to it, but it’s way more complex and rich than spicy. The 20 cloves of garlic help create quite a special flavour so don’t be afraid to use them – the recipe actually called for 40, but I didn’t have that many so used everything I could muster instead and it turned out to be most delicious!

1kg beef (3cm cubes)
1 teaspoon garlic (grated)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion (chopped)
1 large tomato (chopped)

2 cinnamon sticks (broken up roughly)
20 black peppercorns
20 cloves
20 dried red chillies
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
20 garlic cloves (grated)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar

Mix together the meat, with the teaspoons of garlic, ginger, turmeric and salt and set aside.

Next, Dry fry the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, chillies and cumin seeds for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Grind in a pestle & mortar or spice grinder until the texture of a fine powder. Mix this powder together with the vinegar, grated garlic and 2 tablespoons of water. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Fry the onion gently for 5 minutes until soft and golden. Add the tomato and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring. Add the spice paste and cook again for 3 minutes. Add the beef, turn up the heat to high and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring. Pour in 500ml water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and partially cover. Simmer gently for 1½-2 hours, until the meat is meltingly tender. Remove from the heat, check for seasoning and the serve.

Serve with plentiful basmati rice.

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