15 April 2012

Curried Beef Stew

I am a list person. List for everything, shopping, books to read, movies to see, an ever growing list of must have cook books, new places to try for Friday breakfasts, to do lists....you name it I probably have a list for it and now all easily accessible on my iPhone, certainly easier than numerous post its and little notebooks lurking in the darkened corners of my handbag.

Another list is recipes I want to try, there is so much inspiration out there; from books to magazines, and of course food blogs, a list was most definitely required. So Friday afternoon at work, after a long week I was thinking an early night and maybe get the weekly supermarket shop out of the way on the way home leaving Saturday with one less chore.  However it had been such a busy week I hadn't even had a chance to think what culinary creations I wanted to make on the weekend let alone a shopping list.  You see that's where the "things I want to cook" list comes in to its own.  A quick glance and this curried beef stew from Bon Appetit just jumped out at me.  I had seen it a month or so ago and all the spices and aromatic flavours; guajillo chilli, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime, made me want to just dive in to a bowl full of it.

Add to that there is something especially comforting about a curry that has been made from scratch, from the pounding of all the herbs and spices to a paste to a fragrant pot simmering away on the stove. This one didn't disappoint, in fact it may well be my new favourite curry.

Curried Beef Stew, adapted from Bon Appetit


Curry paste

1 dried ancho chilli, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 lemongrass stalk, sliced
1 tbsp galangal*, roughly chopped (if you can't find galangal use ginger)
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp Thai shrimp paste


500g/1lb beef chuck, cut into 1.5cm cubes
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 pinch chilli flakes...a little more or less depending on your own heat preference
8-10 curry leaves
1 lt beef stock
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced in to rounds

4 kaffir lime leaves

To garnish

Fresh red chillies

To serve

Jasmine rice
1 cup jasmine rice
1/2 red pepper
1 tbsp rice bran oil or other neutral oil
1/2 tbsp sat

*Galangal is related to cardamom, ginger and turmeric.  It is a rhizome from the ginger family an it does indeed look quite like ginger.  However, it is more fibrous and dense and has a pine like scent. 

Curry Paste

Place some warm water in a small bowl and add the dried chilli for a few minutes to rehydrate it. Drain and place it in a mortar along with the salt and pound it with a pestle until you have a rough paste. It will take a few minutes of vigorous pounding. Then add the other one by one give them a good pounding before adding the next one. Cover and chill.  The paste can be made up to a week ahead and kept covered in the fridge.


Place the beef in a medium sized bowl and add the curry paste, soy sauce,the chilli flakes and curry leaves.  Give it a good mix to make sure all the beef is coated in the curry paste.

Add just a teaspoon of rice bran oil (or other neutral flavored oil) and heat over a medium heat to a dutch oven or heavy based saucepan.  Add the beef and turn up the heat to high to sear both the beef and the paste.  After a moment turn the heat back down to medium and cook for a few moments more, stirring occasionally. Add the beef stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours until the beef is tender.

Stir in shallots, carrots, and lime leaves. Simmer until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. If broth is too salty, add water a few tablespoonfuls at a time.

Jasmine rice

Everyone has their own views on how to cook rice and this is my go to way for perfect rice (Thanks to Chef Grace).  Add the red pepper, salt and oil and 2 cups of water to a medium size saucepan and bring it to the boil.  Once it is boiling quickly add the rice, no need to even rinse, stir only once and then leave it well alone. Let it come to a boil and then simmer on a low heat until done, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the heat et voila perfectly cooked rice.

Pile the rice in to bowls, top with the beef curry and scatter over some coriander, basil and slices of fresh chilli for a little freshness. So full of flavour, so rich and deep.  This one has that wonderful savoury unami in spades.  The beef is tender and fragrant from all the spices, meanwhile a little fresh chilli heat along with aromatic coriander and basil adds a welcome freshness.

If you like this you might like this Spicy Chicken Tikka Kebabs
One Year Ago Hot Smoking



  1. The curry looks fantastic and a great colorful pic too

    1. Thanks Alli, so much flavour,,,this one will definitely be getting made again & again :)

  2. I can see why this beef stew leaped out at you, especially with the homemade curry paste! What enticing photos, too. I'm a list person, as well...I need a better system, though, since I still have crumpled pieces of paper in my purse and a thick stack pinned on the fridge.


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