Beef in fragrant spinach sauce

Ingredients for 4 persons

From Classic Indian Cookery page 150

  • 750gms cooked spinach – for 4 used three Japan sized bunches of spinach and this was fine
  • 3tbps light vegetable oil
  • 750gms of lean boneless beaf or lamb
  • 200gms thinly sliced onions
  • 3/4tbsp of finely chopped garlic
  • 1.5tbsps chopped fresh ginger
  • 0.5 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1tbsp ground coriander
  • 0.5tsp turmeric
  • 0.5 medium sized ripe tomato finely chopped
  • 1.5 green chilli peppers seeded and chopped OR 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5tbs natural yoghurt or sour cream
  • 0.5 of a 7.5cm long cinnamon stick broken into small pieces
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1.4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 0.5tbsp salt
  • 2tsps garam masala
  • extra 1-2tbsps light vegetable oil

Overall idea is to cook the spinach separately and then use a food processor to chop up and then mix into the dish at the end. Meanwhile brown the meat, cook the onion and then liven up some of the spices along with the tomato for some moisture. Finally cook the meat through for several hours with the onion, garlic and spices plus additional spices in a bag and then mix in the chopped spinach, garam masala etc at the end. The dish tastes better if prepared a few hours in advance and then left to rest.

Cook the spinach in boiling salted water for a few minutes and then remove to a colander and run through with cold water to help preserve the color. Squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible with your bare hands or back of a spoon. Chop with an electric blender.

Dry the meat and then brown in the oil; add more oil and then brown the onions on medium high heat stirring regularly until caramel brown (about 25 mins); add garlic and ginger and fry for another 2 mins or so; add cumin, coriander and turmeric and stir for a few seconds to freshen up; add tomato to add moisture along with chilli peppers and cook for a few more minutes until a thick, pulpy paste; turn off the heat and add yoghurt or sour cream. When cool puree with an electric blender and finally add to the meat in the casserole.

Put the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves in a muslin cloth or similar – I used a Japanese personal teabag; crush a little with a mallet etc and then add to the casserole.

Add salt and 1000ml of water to the casserole and then mix, bring to the boil and finally cover with a piece of foil and then the lid to seal tightly.

Cook in an oven at 165C or on top of the stove until tender, perhaps 2-2.5 hours. Take out the spices, add the cooked spinach and garam masala and blend well; reheat a little then lave for ten minutes to check, add salt and add oil if you want it more glossy. Leave as long as you want for flavor to develop further.

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