Saturday, June 4, 2011

vij's ground beef curry

Do you ever feel like a cookbook "gets" you? Do you feel like you are totally on the same page as the chef? Do you have a cookbook that has never, not ever, failed you even once? I do, and it's Vij's Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine. Vij is consistent. So far, he has knocked every single recipe in this book out of the park for me, and I've made quite a few of them. I have learned to trust Vij. If he says to put whipping cream and beef in the same dish, I will do it. I will do just about anything the man tells me to do in a recipe, the only exception being that his salt content is astronomical. No average sized recipe should have a tablespoon of salt in it. Sodium aside, when it comes to the kitchen, Vij makes my toes curl. Who does that for you?

I think that this is possibly Adam's favourite thing that I make.  At the very least, it is in close competition with ribs. It's one of those things that I make once and a while - not too often - because it is very rich, heavy and meaty. When I haven't made it for a while, the plaintive requests start rolling in for "sweet meat curry"... and I can only resist them for so long. This meal is surprisingly easy to make - totally feasible on a cozy, stormy weeknight.

I was originally making this recipe by pureeing tomatoes, but I recently found that when I used passata, which is pureed and strained tomatoes, it was much more flavourful than the fresh tomatoes which were more watery and therefore had less flavour. Do yourself a favour and use passata. It tastes better, saves time and probably even saves money. You can find it in the supermarket with the tomato sauces and it generally comes in a tall glass bottle. Just watch for any added flavours or sodium content.

My second piece of wisdom to impart on you is this: use extra lean ground beef. Do not use regular. Try not to use lean. The reason for this is because you do not have the opportunity to drain the fat out of the meat.

vij's ground beef curry
Adapted from  Vij's Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine

1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups pureed onions
1 1/2 cups passata
1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1 lb 10 oz extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup raw sugar
chopped fresh mint for garnish

Heat your oil on medium-high heat. Add pureed onions and sautee until they are light brown. Add passata, cumin, salt, turmeric and cayenne. Cook for another five minutes before adding the whipping cream. Sautee for another five minutes.

Break up your ground beef and gradually add it in. Stir regularly for approximately six minutes, or until there are no more pink bits. Don't overcook your beef - you want it to be tender. Pour in the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Serve with naan bread and fresh chopped mint.

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