Archive for November 30th, 2012

30th November
written by Loren

Editors note: This post was, for some reason, written last August but never posted. Enjoy!



My 26th birthday came and went a few weeks ago while I was on a trip to visit Arthur in NYC. The trip was amazing, but the way it ended was pretty nice too. When I got home, there was a package waiting for me. I will confess, I still get that childhood sense of giddiness when a package arrives, let alone one that I didn’t order myself, let alone one arriving around my birthday! So after a stressful day of flying back from New York, I was delighted to find my birthday present from my brother. He got me a copy of Good Meat, an amazing book which I have previously mentioned on this site, and a super interesting comic book written by Anthony Bourdain, of all people. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s called Get Jiro and involves a super bad-ass sushi chef with a penchant for decapitation in a dystopian future where chefs are the real power in society.

Getting back to the topic at hand, this was the first recipe i decided to try from the new cookbook. My brother and his wife, to whom I gave this book as a christmas present two years ago, insist that there is not a bad recipe in the book, so I didn’t put too much thought into choosing the first recipe to make. I hadn’t made a good curry in a while, so I went with this one.

  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or other cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (13.5) oz can of coconut milk
  • 1..5-2 tablespoons of prepared madras curry powder.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs stew beef, cut into cubes and patted dry
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


Heat/melt your cooking oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat, and fry the onion to a golden brown, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent the onions from burning.  While the onion browns, open the can of coconut milk and spoon out the heavier “cream” to a separate bowl, setting aside the thinner liquid to use later. Stir the curry powder into the coconut cream to form a paste. Stir the curry paste, along with the garlic, in with the onions until the fragrance is driving your roommates insane with mouthwatering curry goodness, about 2-3 minutes. Add the beef to the pot and stir to coat with the curry mixture.

Mix the reserved coconut milk (the lighter stuff you left in the can and set aside), and the 1/2 cup water into  the pan and bring it all to a boil, before immediately lowering the heat and simmering on the lowest possible setting. Cover and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The curry is done when the meat is fork tender. Serve with basmati or brown rice, or whatever other starch you like. Rice noodles would be a good choice, I went with boiled yukon gold potatoes because as a Minnesotan boy, I have a weakness for meat and gravy over potatoes.

I departed from this recipe in two ways while I was making it. First, if you notice, this recipe calls for putting  the raw meat into the stewing liquid with no searing beforehand. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this, it always seems to me that developing that browning on the meat and in the pan is a key part of creating the flavor base of a stew or saucy dish, as long as the meat pieces are large enough to not make this step result in tough, overcooked meat. So what I ended up doing was seasoning the meat with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, then searing it off in the dutch oven before proceeding to the onions. The one problem this presented was that by the time the onions were almost done cooking, I was starting to see the brown bits on the bottom of the pan start to make their way closer to black. Scorching the pan or the food in an additive, one pan dish like this will quickly ruin the whole dish and there’s really no way to recover. Next time, I think I will try to do it the way the recipe recommends. If there is not an appreciable difference, I’ll skip the searing and trust that the robust curry flavor of the sauce doesn’t need that extra hint of roasted meat.

Lastly, when the meat was done cooking, the sauce was still a bit runny for my preference. The taste was fantastic, but the texture wasn’t’ quite right for a stew or gravy. What I ended up doing was making a cornstarch and milk slurry and then whisking that into the pot and cooking for another 5-10 minutes with the cover off. That thickened up the sauce to just the right consistency. I definitely wouldn’t say  that should be a standard step, just be ware that if you like a thicker sauce you might want to consider this option, or play with cooking without the lid to evaporate some more of the liquid.