Goan beef curry

22 Jan

goan beef curryWe love cooking a big, warming Indian curry in this house. I especially love the exciting way in which the treatment of the spices gives a different flavour profile, depending on if they are toasted or not, ground or left whole, or added early or late in the cooking.

Years ago I bought a cookbook called The Food of India – it’s a beautiful book, with double pages that fold out to show pictures of people selling their wares in markets and luscious mountain-scapes with rice fields in the foreground. The recipes are all from scratch and they are some of my favourite meals to cook. One look at the ingredients list may make one think the meal would require hours of cooking. The active time however, is minimal, and if there is time for the curry can bubble away quietly for an hour or so the meat becomes so very tender.

Once I started cooking curries from scratch I found my spice cupboard expanded rapidly, and so did the range of meals I cooked, as I suddenly had the various spices available.  And to be honest, I just love the smell of them in my cupboard! Every time I open the cupboard door I get a delicious waft of cloves and cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon.


8 cardamom pods, seeds removed

1 tsp fennel seeds

½ tsp black pepper

3 tsp coriander seeds

3 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp oil

2 onions, finely diced

6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

10cm piece ginger, peeled and grated (I often peel and grate a whole piece of ginger and freeze it in small portions, wrapped in plastic wrap)

1kg beef, trimmed and diced

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp crushed dried chillies / chilli flakes

300ml coconut milk

3/4 cup frozen peas

Salt, to taste


Grind cardamom seeds, fennel seeds, black pepper, coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to form a fine powder. Alternatively you could use pre-ground spices, which would be faster, but a bit less flavour-ful.

Add ground cloves and cinnamon to the other spices and mix.

Heat the oil in a heavy based pot and add the onion. Cook on a medium-low heat until the onion softens. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until browned.

Add the meat and cook, stirring, until browned.

Add the spice mix, turmeric and chilli flakes, stirring for 1 minute.

Add the coconut milk and slowly bring to the boil.

Turn the heat back to very low and simmer, covered, for an hour. (We sometimes leave ours to cook for longer if that’s what is convienent at the time.) Stir occasionally during this time to keep from catching, and add water as required to maintain a somewhat thick sauce.

Stir through frozen peas in the last 5 mins of cooking time and season with salt just before serving.

We eat our curry with plain greek yoghurt, Morgs’ tomato relish, rice and pappadums.

This is Morgs’ cracking (and pretty) accompaniment:

½ a red onion, chopped finely

2 small tomatoes, chopped finely

Enough white vinegar to cover


When starting the curry, place tomatoes and onions in a small bowl and just cover with vinegar.  Let it sit for an hour or two in the fridge to neutralize the onions. Just before serving drain off the vinegar. Serve a spoonful beside the curry.

Serves 4

Adapted from The Food of India


2 Responses to “Goan beef curry”

  1. Brooke January 23, 2013 at 12:44 am #

    Marcie, I was so excited when I saw your blog was a curry today! Curries are the one dish that I have been painstakingly trying to master for the last few years – and they have continued to elude me!! You have inspired me to try this one and buy The Food of India book. Is that from the ‘Journey for food lovers’ series? I have the Thailand and Morocco ones, they are amazing and helped me improve my stirfry dishes and tagines. I will let you know how I go, my husband is going to be super stoked. The poor guy is tired of me holding my breath as he takes his first mouthful of each dud curry that I make. Fingers crossed!!

    • marcieblogs January 23, 2013 at 1:39 am #

      Hi Brooke! Yes it’s from that series – seriously every curry from that book turns out to be a winner. Good luck and let me know how you go!

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