Although we don't eat a lot of red meat too often for health reasons (limiting our red meat intake to about once in every two months or so), hubbykins and I were discussing our various Mangalorean favourites and the discussion became a lengthy one about ingredients as well. We both felt that I had a lot of recipes on the blog which required coconut (grated or milk) and that it wasn't fair to those people who were unable to obtain the same (it's like tempting them to have something they couldn't find). I also got a mail from a reader, Priyanka who asked for some vegetarian & Beef recipes which of course make no use of coconut in any form. Since then I have been jotting down recipes which fall in that category and have been trying some varieties.
Since R loves Beef and I don't like it as much as I like Mutton, we always end up making Beef Sukka on those rare occasions when we get it. My mum also used to make a lot of Beef Sukka which my dad was a huge fan of. And since we used to always get poor quality Mutton in Mangalore (with little meat and lots of bones) it was always Beef that was eaten when you wanted a change from the regular Sunday Chicken curry and a whole week of sea food or vegetables.
So when R & I had this food related discussion last week at the dinner table right after we had finished Supper, I suddenly remembered that in Mangalore for small gatherings where food is ordered from the Caterers, Beef Chilli Fry used to always be on the menu. I say 'small gatherings' because Beef is hardly ever served for a grand occasion like a Wedding or a Roce (pre wedding function) - not sure if it has found its way into the menu today. I found a nice recipe in the Mangalore Ladies Club book which I largely adapted and it turned out fantastic! I must say that although I like medium spicy food and this one is high on the spice meter true to its name, you can definitely tone down the chillies to suit your palate. There is no gravy in this recipe so it goes really well with Chapathis or as a side dish with Rice and Dal.
Last but not the least, don't let the name mislead you into thinking that this is a Chinese dish. The name when read in parts, suggests exactly what the dish is all about. It's Beef & Chillies that require frying! Simple! Not an exotic Far East dish, but our very own Mangalorean way of making a spicy Sukhe (dry dish) without coconut.
Beef Chilli Fry
- 750 gm boneless beef
- 2 medium onions minced
- 1 large tomato minced (chopped fine)
- 1 tsp tomato purée (optional)
- 2-3 tsp ghee or oil (or a combination of both just for the flavour & fragrance)
- 4 green chillies (plus or minus 1 as per taste)
- 5 long dry red chillies (Kumti/Bedgi or Kashmiri) * see note
- 10 peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp cumin/jeera
- 5 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 pod or about 10 flakes garlic with skin (Indian)
- 1/2 cup thick curds (yoghurt) *see note
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (optional)
- 1 tsp poppy seeds/khus khus (optional)
- salt to taste
- few coriander leaves or spring onion greens
1. Cut beef into small pieces (or slices), wash and allow to drain on a colander.
2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned in the 'for the marinade' section to a fine paste. If you are using a mixer grinder, add the curds towards the end or you can even use well beaten curds directly to the meat instead of grinding it.
3. Marinate the beef with this masala and set aside (preferably in a refrigerator) for a minimum of 1 hour
4. In a pressure cooker heat the ghee or oil and toss in the minced onions and fry well (till translucent). Add the chopped tomatoes and fry till tender. Add the marinated meat and fry on a slow flame till most of the water comes out and the masala turns looks a rich brownish red in colour. Add the tomato puree if usin.
5. Add a little masala water (from the mixer jar) and make a thick gravy. Cover the lid and place the weight (whistle). Pressure cook on full flame till the first whistle goes off. Reduce flame and cook on sim for 20-25minutes.
6. Open the cover, mix well and cover and allow it to stand for 2 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander or spring onion greens and serve hot with rice or chapathis
- You can skip the green chillies and use just 10 dry red chillies
- If you don't want to use curds you can just skip it and add 2 tomatoes (chopped) instead of 1. However, curds helps in tenderising the meat during the marination stage and will help to cook faster.