28 Jun 2012
Verdict: this is the easiest and most approachable curry recipe. The ingredients are readily available, the steps are easy to follow and the curry produces the most tender beef.
This recipe comes from friend’s mom, Mary, mother of four and exceptional cook. Since she lives in England, I’ve yet to meet her in person but over the last two years, I’ve got gotten to know her through emails and by cooking her wonderful family recipes.
I always assumed that korma was dull and served as a mild introduction to Indian cuisine. Whenever I went for Indian food in a large group, the unadventurous diners always chose the korma. This perspective shifted when my friend prepared her mom’s recipe: I was surprised about how much flavour and spice was packed this dish.
Classically, a korma is defined as a dish where meat or vegetables are braised with water, stock, and yoghurt or cream. The korma style is similar to all other braising techniques in that the meat is first seared using a high heat and then subjected to long, slow cooking using moist heat and a minimum of added liquid.
If you’ve never made at curry at home before, this is the recipe for you. The end product is a creamy curry with very tender beef. The cheap cut of stewing beef is unidentifiable because it’s replaced with beef that falls apart with a fork.
To increase the healthiness of the meal, I added peas to the leftovers which were packed for lunch the next day. It was delicious but I kind of prefer the rich, thick curry with chunks of beef and a stray piece of coriander over the healthy peas.
As a general rule, curries taste better the next day so you have a week’s worth of leftovers! This curry also freezes beautifully. The beef is coated in the rich yogurt and tends to resist freezer burn. I store the leftovers in glass mason jars, making sure there’s at least two fingers width of space at the top of the jar to leave room for expansion during the freezing process. Once defrosted and heated up, no one can detect that it’s been in the freezer for months.
I can’t imagine a better low maintenance meal. You’re only in front of the stove for 30 minutes yet create enough food to feed a hungry crowd or several frozen meals that save you from cooking on the weeknight or weekends.
You can find coriander powder in your spice aisle but try the international aisle as well; the spices come in packages ten times the size but at the same price. This is true if you shop at Superstore, where I get most of my Indian spices.
Easy Beef Korma
Serves: 6 – 8 | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 30 – 35 minutes, simmering for 1.5 – 2 hours
- 2 tablespoon neutral oil like vegetable or grapeseed
- 3 onions, roughly chopped
Masala – mash or grind
- 2” ginger, grated
- 4 – 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 red chillies (hot), chopped*
* 3 chillies each the length of pinkie finger creates the perfect amount of spice for our household. If you don’t get excited about spicy food, reduce the number of chilies.
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder (heaping tsp if you like it hot)
- 3 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1.5 kg ~ 3.5 lbs stewing beef (rough, not good quality), cut into 1” cubes, sprinkled with 1 tsp kosher salt
- 750 g Tub Greek-style yogurt (I used 3% yogurt and it was plenty rich)
- Half 8 oz can of tomato paste – 8 tablespoons
- ½ cup beef broth
- Fresh coriander/cilantro – chop stalks to cook / use leaves to sprinkle when finished
1. Fry onions in oil over medium high heat until they begin to brown, stir constantly for about 8 – 10 minutes.
2. Add masala – fry for 1 minute.
3. Add powders – fry for 1 minute.
4. Add beef cubes, increase heat to HIGH and brown meat, about 7 minutes.
5. Add yogurt, tomato puree, beef stock and coriander stalks.
6. Bring to boil, then simmer over LOW heat for 2 hours. You can stir it once or twice but not necessary. Optional: 5 minutes before serving, stir in 1 cup of frozen peas.
7. Stir coriander leaves into curry and serve with Basmati rice and garnish with more coriander.
Note 1: The original recipe calls for half a can of tomato paste but I’ll sometimes use the whole can. Whenever I try to save the other half, it is forgotten until only its mouldy remnants remain.
Note 2: 1.5 hours is the minimal time needed, just keep the heat on low while you eat, the second helpings will be even more tender.
Note 3: coriander and cilantro are the same thing. For those who don’t like it, try adding half of the bunch instead of the whole thing. They bring a freshness to the dish that plays well with the richness of the curry.
Slow Cooker Alternative:
This taste just as delicious out of the slow cooker. Perfect for those times when you need the stove freed up for your roommates or want to come home from work to a bubbling pot of curry.
Follow up to step 5 but leave out coriander stalks. Transfer over to slow cooker and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours. Add coriander stalks half an hour before time is up and start Basmati rice at this time. Optional: 5 minutes before serving, stir in 1 cup of frozen peas.