Beef curry with yoghurt and black pepper

This recipe is one I contributed to a cookbook created by my playgroup as a fundraiser and community builder when my children were small. The book was called “Life made easy” and it was full of simple, delicious recipes and household tips for busy families with young children. Those playgroup days bring back a wash of happy memories; a group of delightful and caring mothers and fathers and our kids, who met together in a church hall and did life together, when it was easy, and when it was really tough. The curry is mild but full of flavour, and is a good way to introduce spice to the uninitiated. You can make it ahead of time, it freezes very well, and it is economical too – a winner on all fronts.

Serves 4 – 6

1 kg chuck steak, cut into 4 cm chunks
2 large onions, diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves finely diced garlic
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (you can add a bit more if you like heat in your curries)
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
400 ml natural yogurt
1/2 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 175 C. In a large, flameproof casserole dish with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat on the stove top and brown the beef in small batches until well caramelised, then put aside in a deep dish. Add the remaining oil and cook the onions and garlic over medium heat until they are soft and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile whisk the yoghurt together with the spices until well combined. Add the beef to the casserole dish and then stir in the yoghurt mixture. Bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat. Cover the dish tightly with foil and then the lid. Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Carefully remove from the oven, take off the foil and stir well (it looks not so appealing at this stage). Put the lid back on and bake for another 30 – 45 minutes, or until the meat is very tender, and the sauce a dark reddish brown. Stir well before serving sprinkled with the fresh coriander, with rice, poppadoms and maybe a sambal of green chilli, cucumber and some more coriander.

beef with yoghurt and pepper2 resized