This lovely recipe has its origins in southern India – Madras to be precise. My husband (who’s originally from that region) and I have made our own tweaks and modifications to the dish in the time we’ve been making it. It’s traditionally made with lamb, but beef also works well. Also you can either make it with coconut milk or orange juice, but here we use both.
We chose a lean cut of beef (we used topside, cut it into large cubes and pre-cooked it in a pressure cooker for around 30 minutes to tenderise). There’s also no reason why you can’t make this in your slow cooker (crockpot, for my US readers), using a cheaper cut of meat like brisket, and come home to a lovely, warming meal in the evening.
Just for a change in our chilli-mad household, the heat from this dish really comes more from the peppercorns than from the chillies (you could even omit the chillies if you wish).
It’s a great autumn-into-winter dish but also surprisingly refreshing too, with its zingy hit of orange.
500g of good quality beef (we prefer a leaner cut like topside)
One onion, thinly sliced (preferably on a mandolin)
Two small green chillies (seeded or de-seeded, you decide)
Half inch of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp of black peppercorns
1 tsp turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Half a cup of cashews
Salt to season
Zest and juice of one orange
400g can of coconut milk
Handful of coriander
If you’re starting with a large joint of beef cut it into large cubes, put in the pressure cooker and cover with water and add the turmeric. Cook for around 30 minutes until the cubs are tender.
Next fry the onion with the ginger, garlic and chillies until they are soft and translucent. Add the cooked beef to the pan, along with the coconut milk and squeezed juice and start to simmer.
Grind the peppercorns and cumin seeds in a mill or a pestle and mortar. Add to the simmering pan.
In a separate pan lightly toast the cashews, being careful not to burn them. I prefer to dry toast them, as they can quickly burn in oil.
When the beef stew starts to reduce and thicken slightly it’s done. Grate in the orange zest and season with salt.
Serve in individual bowls, sprinkled with the cashews and some fresh coriander.
Rice or chapattis are the perfect accompaniment to this dish.