A melt-in-your-mouth curry is a weeknight staple that feels just a little bit special. You’ll want to cook extra because it works just as well, if not better, for lunch the next day. Yes, that’s right, many people claim curry gets better with age.
Curries can be made from a diverse range of ingredients but beef definitely takes the crown for us when it comes to a food coma inducing curry.
There are also a lot of cuisines that can inspire your curry, be it Indian, Thai, Malaysian or Sri Lankan just to name a few.
One thing that is essential across all types and flavours of curry is to use a slow method when cooking, letting it simmer for a long period of time.
Cook until the meat is tender, the sauce is reduced and the flavours are intensified.
What type of beef to use
Because of the longer cooking time choose a cut of beef with higher levels of connective tissues that will partially melt during the cook time, ensuring your curry is full of tender and flavour-packed beef.
You also want to go with a cut that has a good amount of fat that will render down, enhancing the flavour of the sauce. If your cut is too lean it could easily become dry and overcooked.
We recommend choosing a chuck steak.
Chuck steak is perfect for your every curry need. It is a well-used cut that comes from the shoulder of the animal and, while lean, it has a high content of collagen, a good amount of marbling and low external fat.
Cooking the meat on a low heat, over an extended period of time, in fluid will break down the connective tissues, including the protein collagen, which would otherwise make the meat tough when cooked quickly.
Choosing your beef
While you can buy pre-cut chuck steak from your grocery store, we would recommend heading to your local butcher. This way you can ask for their recommendations and have full control over your meat.
You are then best to cut it up yourself. This allows you to control the size of the beef (you want the pieces to all be the same or similar in size for even cooking), and will ensure the meat is cut against the grain. Cutting the meat against the grain will break down and shorten the muscle fibres leaving you with a tender and easy to chew dish.
Cooking your curry
The key is to brown the beef first to bring out the flavour. When you sear the meat it keeps the juices in and creates a caramelised outer layer on the meat.
You’ll want to brown in batches to not overcrowd the pan and to get even browning without steaming and overcooking any of the beef.
You can keep it simple, or add in extra vegetables to build out your meal and get in your daily veggie intake.
Recipe: Indian-Style Beef Curry
- 1kg of chuck steak, cut into 2.5cm cubes
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ tsp of ground pepper
- Salt to taste
- 5cm piece of ginger, grated
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp of ground coriander
- 2 tsp of ground cumin
- ½ tsp of ground turmeric
- ½ tsp of chilli powder (optional)
- ¼ cup of coconut milk
- 400g of tinned tomatoes
- Fresh coriander, chopped
- Steamed rice
Brown chuck steak in batches, on a medium to high heat, in a single layer across the bottom of the pan until browned on all sides. Place the browned meat to the side.
Brown the onion in the pan, once browned add in all of the spices, garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant.
Transfer the mixture and the beef into a large curry or casserole pot. You can also pop it into a slow cooker.
Stir in the tomatoes and if cooking on the stove, cook covered for 2 hours on a low heat. Making sure to stir every 10 to 15 minutes. In a slow cooker cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
Take off the heat, uncover and stir in the coconut milk. Let sit for 20 minutes before serving over your steamed rice and garnish with coriander.
After another option to add to your curry repertoire? Try out this one next time you’re craving a beef curry.
This article was first published on 4 November 2019 and updated on 6 May 2021.