Bengal Lancers Beef Curry Cubes
by Kate Heyhoe
Some curries can be fiery hot, but not this one. Some curries require lots of measuring and spice grinding, but not this one. Some curries take tons of time and equipment to make, but not this one.
Perfectly suited to a stand-up buffet, tender beef cubes cooked in a mild but savory sauce eliminate the need for knives. The sauce builds it's foundation on a healthy dose of fresh ginger and garlic, and two store-bought spice mixtures—garam masala and curry powder—add the complex tastes of cloves, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, and fennel, without the need to measure each of these spices individually.
If you're not familiar with garam masala, it's a basic seasoning mixture in the same way that curry powder is actually a blend of several spices. Look for pre-mixed garam masala wherever Indian spices are sold. Many supermarkets carry it in their ethnic foods aisle. If you can't find it, you can easily make your own using my recipe for Garam Masala.
- Use a mini-chopper or the chopping blade of a hand blender for the ginger, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro in this recipe, wiping the work bowl between each ingredient.
- Use a large wok to make this dish in one pan. If you don't have a large wok, you can use two frying pans, or cook the meat in two batches. This dish cooks so quickly, even two batches don't take much time.
- Except for marinating, you can make this dish right before the party, or make it a day ahead and reheat. Serve it in a chafing dish over low flame to keep warm.
3-1/2 pounds beef tri-tip
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
one 4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons curry powder
2-1/2 to 3 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
1 fresh jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
1. Cut beef into bite-size cubes, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in size. Toss with mustard. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large wok on medium. Stir-fry ginger and garlic until soft, about 2 minutes.
3. Stir in garam masala and curry powder and cook, stirring often, until their aromas start to release, another 2 to 3 minutes. You should end up with a thick paste-like mixture. Remove as much of the curry paste mixture from the pan as you can and reserve it until the next step. (This keeps the paste from burning when you heat the oil for the beef.)
4. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil on high. Stir-fry beef with the reserved curry paste, salt, pepper and some or all of the jalapeño (Careful! see the jalapeño Tip below). You want to brown the beef cubes lightly, but avoid cooking them all the way through. They should still be pink and at least medium rare inside. This step takes about 4 to 5 minutes using a large wok on high heat.
jalapeño Tip: The jalapeño can, depending on its strength, make this dish quite hot—to prevent this, reserve most of the chopped jalapeño and serve it on the side for guests to add individually.
5. Turn heat to low. Stir in chicken broth. Simmer 5 minutes for the flavors to blend. You'll end up with tender beef cubes surrounded by lots of savory curry gravy, which tastes divine on Saffron Basmati Rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro and, if you like it spicier, a dash of fresh ground pepper or reserved jalapeño.
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Copyright © 1998, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created 1998 and modified November 2006.