Beef Vindaloo

Ben and I had an almost argument when cooking this dish. I say almost because, though heated, it was fuelled by stubbornness, which was fuelled by hunger, and really it all boiled down to how long it would be until we feuding lovers could devour dinner. We can all appreciate that, right?

You see, Ben was intoxicated by the scent of spiced stewing meat and wanted to eat right away. Yesterday, in fact. I, on the other hand, have a little more self restraint than my beloved and insisted on an additional hour of simmering. I also demanded we let it sit for an hour before reheating. Then we would eat. As I said this Ben's face fell. Bless the boy for loving food as much as I.

To not entirely break my husband's heart that Saturday night it was just us two, I fixed us a snack of cheese and olives and red wine and pulled out Scrabble (dude loves himself a board game). And as I attempted to get the word "quone", we waited patiently for our beef. It was a hard almost argument to win, folks, but *dusting my shoulders off*, it was the right move. And mid-bite of melting meat, Ben agreed.

Making these rich, stews sensational tends to come down to how long they simmer and sit before you serve them. If you'd like to be one step ahead and make this dish the day before, I applaud your foresight. Just beware you might like to add a bit of water when reheating to ensure there's enough sauce (and likely adjust the seasoning with a bit more salt to avoid diluting the flavour).

I took these photographs mid-almost-argument, quietly snapping away while he, transfixed, sniffed and swooned and not so  stealthily stole a piece. He was totally quoning the beef.

I can't blame him. It's freakin delicious.

Beef Vindaloo

Adapted from Aarti Sequeira's Goan beefy curry with vinegar. This vinadloo is not exceptionally hot, especially if you leave out the chilli seeds (if you're unsure how hot your chilli is and whether you should remove all the seeds, taste a little of the chilli and if it burns, go easy. I often use about a quarter of the seeds in my dishes).

Serves 4-6

Ingredients for the wet masala pasta
1/2 Cinnamon Quill
8 Black Peppercorns
8 whole Cloves
1 heaped teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon ground Turmeric
1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground Sweet Paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground Cayenne Pepper
10g peeled freshly grated Ginger
15g (~4 large) minced Garlic Cloves
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Ingredients for the rest of the vindaloo
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or Ghee)
1 brown Onion, finely chopped
1 long Red Chilli (again, remove all the seeds if hot and sensitive to heat), finely chopped
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
1kg Beef Sirloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
~2 cups Hot Water

1. Toast the cinnamon quill, peppercorns, cloves and cumin seeds in a pan over medium heat for ~1 minute, until fragrant and toasty.  Place in a spice grinder and blend until a powder. Add the rest of the masala ingredients and blend until smooth. Place into a mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onions and the chilli and a good pinch of salt. Sautee until soft and golden for ~10 minutes (don't let them burn, turn the heat down or add a drop of water here and there as required).
3. Add the wet masala pasta and stir until some of the liquid evaporates for a couple of minutes. 4. Add the meat and coat in the masala, browning the meat for ~5 minutes (I turned my heat up here to allow the meat to brown, see how you go).
5. Add 1 & 1/2 cups hot water to the pan with a little sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, stir then bring it to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook, covered for ~1 & 1/2 hours until the meat is super tender and falling apart (check at the halfway point to make sure you don't need to add more water - you shouldn't). Allow the curry to sit for 1-2 hours (if leaving overnight, place in the fridge and when reheating add some more water and seasoning as required), then reheat by simmering for a further 30 minutes or so (take the lid off if you need to reduce the sauce a little). Serve with steamed basmati rice and whatever vegetable dish you desire. Anything from steamed peas to spinach would be lovely. Maybe some aloo gobi too.

Heidi xo