Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Slow cooked beef and potato stew

I have been hearing so much about slow cooked roasts and casseroles and have been pretty intrigued by it. I mean I'm not one for slow activities which involve a lot of patience and concentration, but I just had to try it out once, after all the ooh's and aah's about how great they tasted and how tender the meat was. Whenever I cook something with beef or pork, I end up using the good ol pressure cooker and although it reduces the cooking time drastically and does the job of cooking the meat, I somehow feel all the curries I make in the pressure cooker tastes the same, no matter what different combinations of masala I use.

So the other day when I picked up some stewing beef, I decided to go ahead and try this whole slow cooking method, not in the oven, but on the hob top..just to see if it was fabulously different and worth wasting all that energy (literally too). I don't have a slow cooker/ crock pot and so I could only experiment with slow cooking using a heavy bottomed cooking pot. The procedure took almost 2 hours and I was thoroughly pleased with the outcome. Unlike a slow cooker, I couldn't just leave it on to do the job, but had to keep checking it on and off- liquid levels, stir to prevent scorching and so on.

I personally thought it tasted much much better than the curry made in the pressure cooker. For one, the masalas had nicely caught on to the beef cubes and the potato was cooked to perfection. Since the stew turned out so well, I decided it was a waste to serve it with frozen chapathi's. So I immediately turned to my trusted appam mix and whipped up some batter and set it aside to ferment. I know I would be a disgrace to the food blogger community by saying this, but I love love love ready mixes of any sort:). 
This appam mix for example, its a brand called Double Horse, and it works wonders. Just mix the powder with with water, coconut milk or milk or a mix of all of these and keep it aside for an hour or so in a warm place and you have nice soft appams ready in no time. I have a flat glass top hob and so cant use the traditional appam chatti, so I make do with the frying pan and dish out the flat appams (I cant for the love of me remember what its called). Its always worked for me and I don't understand why you would waste time and energy making your own batter when the ready made ones work just well. Its either that or its because Ro and I cant really make out the difference between appams made using home made batter and the store bought one. We savour it whatsoever. Same with dosa batter and vada mixes. They work like a charm for us :)

Anyhoo, I lovingly served it for dinner, quite looking forward to the fact that Ro would most certainly notice the difference and sing praises only to be slightly let down. He didn't utter a word even after a few mouthfuls and I finally lost it and asked how the stew was. 'It nice, its the same stew you always make right?' was his reply. I then had to explain to him that it is a slow cooked stew..2 hours I spent slaving over it and it HAS to taste different from the usual. He still didn't get it. His reply was 'you just wasted 2 hours of electricity on a stew that would have taken just 15 minutes to prepare in a pressure cooker???? You talk about energy conservation all the time, what about this then??' I just rolled my eyes and let it pass. I still believe the stew did taste fabulously different from my usual pressure cooker stews. Please, if anyone tries it out, do let me know what you think, so I don't feel horrible about all that energy I could have conserved.

Also, somewhere along the way my blog turned 3, well on may 29th to be precise, and since I don't keep track of stuff like this, it wasn't a big deal. It was only recently when someone asked me how old my blog was, that I realized I should go and check and yes, it had turned 3 :) So I'm gonna consider my first ever slow cooked recipe as a milestone achievement and make a big deal out of it on this 3rd anniv. Hope you enjoy the stew.

Recipe modified from here
Stewing beef- 500 gms, cut into bite size cubes (try and get beef with some fat on, makes a lot of difference)
Potatoes- 2, cut into medium sized cubes (optional)
Oil- 2 tbsp (i used coconut oil, but any oil would do)
Shallots- 250 gms
Ginger- 3 inch piece, peeled and roughly chopped
Garlic- 10 cloves, peeled (or use 1 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste)
Green chillies- 2
Tomato- 1, chopped
Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder- 1/2 tbsp (adjust according to taste)
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1/2 tbsp
Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
Pepper powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1 tsp
Meat masala- 1 tsp (any meat masala of choice)

Salt- to taste
Thick coconut milk- 1/2 cup

To temper

Coconut oil- 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
dried red chilli- 1, broken in half
Shallots- 3 small, roughly chopped
Crush/ grind together coarsely the shallots, ginger, garlic and green chillies.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot and throw in the crushed mix.
Saute on medium heat till they turn a light brown in colour. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure this mix is really cooked well and turns brown or else the curry would be sweet.
Add the chopped tomatoes and saute for a couple more minutes, till they turn mushy and the oil starts to separate.
In goes all the masala powders- turmeric, chilly powders, coriander, pepper and garam masala.
Saute till the raw smell disappears and the oil becomes visible. Add a dash of water if its sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Add the beef along with the potato (if using), half of the curry leaves and enough salt. Mix it all in, making sure the masala coats the beef and potato well.
Add about 1 cup water, give a final stir and close with a lid.
Cook for about 1.30 to 2 hours on low-medium heat, stirring in between (carefully, as you don't want to mash the potatoes), checking liquid levels and adding water as and when required. However, don't over do it. 
Once the meat is completely cooked add the coconut milk and check for salt.
Keep on medium flame for about 10 more minutes and take the stew off the flame. 
Heat the coconut oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds.
Add the curry leaves, dried red chilli and shallots and saute till the shallots turn a deep golden brown (not too dark and crispy)
Pour this over the cooked stew and give a final stir.
Serve with chapathi's, appam, bread or even idiappam.
Notes: You can use any cut of meat. The one advantage of slow cooking is that it makes the meat quite tender whatsoever.
If you cant find shallots, 2 medium sized onions would do.
You can omit the coconut milk and just do with water. The coconut milk however gives it a very distinct taste. I also sometimes add some thinned out coconut milk along with water.
The tadka can be done in the beginning as well, before you add the crushed mix.
Try this with mutton or lamb and it would be just as good.
The curry is slightly on the spicier side, so avoid the chilly powder if you are not up to it.
I have also tried adding whole garam masala right at the beginning with the oil, and i think i like that better.
If at all you did want to make this in the pressure cooker, do all the steps as above in a pressure cooker, add water and close with the lid.
Cook for about 18 minutes or 5 to 6 whistles (you'd know how long the beef you get usually cooks).
Open, check if meat is done and pour in the coconut milk.
Bring to a boil and then take it off flame. Continue with the remaining steps.


runnergirlinthekitchen.blogspot.com said...

Congratulations on completing 3 years!! Wish you many many more years of blogging!
And definitely want to try slow cooked meats.
Happy Blog Birthday once again

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Slow cooked beef stew looks yummy..Looks worth the 2 hr effort...Love the clicks..

Tina said...

Entammeeeeee..Super super super dear......

Anonymous said...

I like things fast and quick but at the same time I hate, absolutely hate pressure cooker. I have one just for those days when i have hangover and in no mood to even stand by the stove and yet want to eat daal chawal :D
This curry reminds me of mutton curry and it's always worth all the pain, energy and time! Like I said before .. love the tone in all the photos.

Honey said...

This looks delicious.. never thought of adding beef to Indian food and potatoes.
Btw.. my name is Nisha too, and I couldn't agree more, NYC is pretty awesome, London is second. :-) Really like your blog.

Non stick, Nutty and Sous chef said...

One of our fav go to dishes is beef curry cooked in the pressure cooker. We almost never seem to have the time for the slow cooked version. we take it out of the cooker and then let it simmer for a bit till it reduces. bet the slow cooked version tastes delish too. aah! that with some chappathi or bread and yummo!

Debs @ The Spanish Wok said...

Sounds delicious & congrats on your 3rd birthday.

You are welcome to join in my monthly food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here for entry details and current theme offering a new theme each month. All bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

Priya said...

Irresistible,droolworthy and totally inviting stew, my hubby will definitely love this.Never thought of making dishes with meat this way,i'll always go for pressure cooker,that makes the life easy na.

Subhie Arun said...

v inviting....lovely presentation..yummy n yummy

Sanchita said...

Congratulations on your 3rd blog anniversary! Lovely curry!

Suja Manoj said...

The gravy is totally yum,love this with appam

Un coup d'aile said...

your blog is a revelation to me. i have just discovered it and would love to try everything i saw in the past hour... the only problem is : where to get all the indian spices...??

greetings from France


JishasKitchen said...

wow..this looks absolutely delicious & perfect...will surely try this sometime and will let u know...:)..loved the clicks too..:)

Torviewtoronto said...

looks fabulous delicious presentation

Vineetha said...

I have tried slow cooking beef once but for a dry version with diced beef,it took more than 1 hour but later on i started using presure cooker but to me the slow cooked version tasted much much better than pressure cooked one...these days we r not into red meat..health conscious !!
This curry looks sooo soo delicious !

Dolly Sharma said...

Happy 3rd blog anniversary !!! Beautiful presentation and clicks ... I don't eat beef but that curry does look out of this world,reminds me of mutton curry.

Cassia Bark said...

I advice all my friends and readers to invest in a slow cooker. The best part being the 'no need to care about it' bit. I normally just put the meat in before going to work and by the time we all come back meat is ready to eat...and oh so tender! :D

The beef stew looks awesome!!! Am on a very low calorie diet now but as soon as I'm off I'm going to make this and eat :p...ummmmmm...

Sohini xx

Jay said...

perfect & yummy...absolutely love it
Tasty Appetite

Indu said...

I believe the flat appams are called Vellayappams. At home, we always "Ollarthify" beef. This looks like a nice change, and with all the gravy, it should be wonderful with appams.

Inka said...

i want to eat this! looks gorgeous!