Beef Baked with Yoghurt and Black Pepper

This warming baked beef curry recipe from Madhur Jaffrey is a real crowd-pleaser. Perfect served with chapatis or pullao rice on a cold winter's night.

Introduction

Ever since the Moguls came to India, there has been a method of cooking that Indians refer to as ‘dum’. Meat (or rice) is partially cooked in a heavy pot covered over with a flat lid. The pot and lid are sealed with a very stiff dough. The pot is placed over a gentle fire and hot charcoals are spread over the lid. The meat cooks very slowly until it is tender, often in small amounts of liquid. So what I have done here is to update a very traditional Mogul recipe. Dum dishes do not have a lot of sauce. Ideally whatever sauce there is should be thick and cling to the meat. The later Moguls, seduced by the chilli peppers brought over from the New World by the Portuguese, used them generously I love to eat this meat dish with chapatis, parathas or naans. If you prefer rice, then the more moist pullaos, such as Mushroom Pullao, would be perfect.

Serves 4–6
Easy

Ingredients

6 tbsp vegetable oil
900g (2lb) boneless stewing beef from the neck and shoulder, cut into 4cm (1½in) cubes
225g (8oz) onions, very finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
½ tsp ground ginger
¼–½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt
½ tsp very coarsely ground black pepper
300ml (½ pint) natural yoghurt, lightly beaten

Essential kit

You will need a wide, flame-proof casserole.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the oil in a wide, flameproof casserole and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in as many meat pieces as the pan will hold easily in a single layer. Brown the meat pieces on all sides and set them aside in a deep plate. Brown all the meat this way

Add the onions and garlic to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Stir-fry for about 10 minutes or until browned. Add the browned meat and any juices. Also add the ginger, cayenne, paprika, salt and black pepper and stir for a minute.

Add the yoghurt to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover tightly with foil and then with a lid, and bake for 1½ hours. If the meat is not tender after this time, pour in 150ml pint) boiling water, cover tightly and bake for a further 20–30 minutes or until the meat is tender. Stir gently before serving.

You could also make this dish with stewing lamb from the shoulder.

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