Monday, April 11, 2016

I Do Still Cook

কষানো গরুর মাংস

Spicy Beef Curry

Spicy beef in a bowl of rice, topped with dried coriander

I realise it's been many months since I've published a Bangladeshi recipe. This post is to make up for that, though strictly speaking it is just a re-worked version of the lamb that was my first recipe on the blog. However, I feel that this makes it a fitting comeback post, and one that captures some of what I've been doing for the last few months. It is true that I've been cooking less, largely due to a very transient lifestyle. But to make up for this, I've been trying to get better at the dishes that I do know how to cook, and one of the results is this recipe below. The amounts here a little more refined from my previous post, which was geared towards a large banquet meal, and the times are adjusted based on experience.

As to what else I've been learning to cook? Well, Thai and Chinese actually - because I grew up in those regions, eating the food but never really knowing how to cook it. I thought I should change that, but I don't think I can justify posting any of those attempts on the blog just yet! 


  • 120.00 g onions, thinly sliced
  • 1.50 teaspoons of ginger paste
  • 1.50 teaspoons of garlic paste
  • 0.50 teaspoon of powdered turmeric
  • 1.00 teaspoon of powdered chilli 
  • 1.00 teaspoon of powdered cumin 
  • 1.50 teaspoons of powdered coriander 
  • 2.00 dried bay leaves
  • 3.00 1.50 cm sticks of cinnamon
  • 6.00 cardamoms
  • 4.00 cloves
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 500.00 g of beef, diced into cubes
  • 1.00 teaspoons of sugar
  • 3.00 tablespoons of yoghurt
  • 4.00 fresh whole chillies, optional for flavour


  • In a non-stick pot, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium heat
  • Add the sliced onion and one cinnamon stick, and fry till browned
  • Add the ginger and garlic pastes to the pot, mixing immediately and continue frying for about 2 minutes
  • Add a little boiling water to the mixture, stirring it in to form a clumpy paste
  • Turn the heat down low to prepare the spices
  • Mix the turmeric, chilli, cumin, coriander and salt to taste in a little bowl, then add to the pot, stirring to mix in with the onion base
  • Immediately after, add the bay leaves, the remaining cinnamon sticks, 4 of the cardamoms and the cloves, and continue stirring to ensure nothing burns
  • Turn the heat back up to temper the spices, adding boiling water periodically to ensure that the mixture remains a thick paste
  • Continue cooking the spices for around 25 minutes - or until the "raw" smell disappears, leaving behind a distinct fragrance reminiscent of a cooked dish
  • Add the beef, stirring all the while to smear the spices over the meat
  • Follow up with generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper, and continue stirring to ensure it is mixed in throughout the meat
  • Turn the heat up high to make the dish bubble and heat the beef quickly, and cook at this temperature for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent burning
  • Turn the heat down to medium and mix in a cup of boiling water to the pot. 
  • Leave to cook for at least 1.50 hours, uncovered to ensure the cubes of meat remain whole
  • Add small quantities of warm to boiling water when necessary to prevent the dish from drying up
  • Once the 1.50 hours have passed, mix the yoghurt with a pinch of salt and the sugar, and stir into the pot
  • Add the fresh chillies to the pot whole - these are mostly for flavour and colour, and not for heat
  • Reduce the heat slightly, cover and continue cooking for 20 minutes
  • Add a little more black pepper and the remaining cardamoms to the dish, stir and let the dish simmer for 5 to 10 minutes before turning off the heat

Additional Notes
The cooking times above are the bare minimum - i.e. how I'd cook this dish if I was being impatient. In truth, this dish gets better when slow cooked for longer than the time specified, and then reheated several times. As with lamb, beef prepared this way is traditionally bulked up with potatoes. However, we also use pumpkin in my family for beef specifically. This is a healthier option that turns this dish into something a bit creamier and sweet. If you want to add pumpkins, cut them into 1.5 cm cubes and add them to the meat 20 to 25 minutes before taking the dish off the stove. 

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