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How to cook… Grandma’s Beef Curry

Serves 4 as a main dish

This is a classic 1960s-style ‘curry’ just like British grandmas used to make. The first recipe for “Indian Currey” appeared in English cookbooks in the 18th century and the Hindoostane Coffee House, considered to be the nation’s first curry restaurant, opened in London in 1810. But it’s unlikely the average British households had many spices in their cupboard till many years after that. When they did bravely venture into the world of Indian cooking it’s likely to have been a generic curry powder that found its way to a place next to the more common staples. Adventurous grandmas would have simply added a couple of spoonfuls of this spice mix to a beef stew along with other exotic (at the time) ingredients such as coconut, sultanas and chutney for sweetness. Hey presto! Grandma’s Beef Curry. Of course, beef is not found in too many parts of India, but that would have escaped many of these cooks. Just adding the curry powder was enough at this stage.

What you need…
• 600g stewing beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 2 Tablespoons flour
• 1 Tablespoon oil
• 1 large knob of butter
• 1 cooking apple (or 2 Granny Smith apples), peeled and cored, and cut into chunks of about 1.5cm
• 2 onions, chopped
• 2 tablespoons cornflour, mixed with water to make a thin paste
• 2 Tablespoons curry powder
• 2 tomatoes, chopped
• 400ml beef stock
• 1 Tablespoon brown sauce
• Salt to taste
• Pepper to taste
• 2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks of about 4cm
• 1 Tablespoon desiccated coconut
• 2 Tablespoons sultanas
• 1 Tablespoon sweet chutney (optional)


How to make it
1. Heat the oil to a medium-high heat in a pan. While it is heating coat the beef in flour. Once the pan is ready add the beef and cook until all the pieces are sealed (about 4–5 minutes). Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
2. Turn down the heat and add the butter. Once it’s melted add the onion and apple and cook gently until everything has softened (about 8 minutes).
3. Add the cornflour mix and curry powder and keep stirring for 3 minutes. Add a splash of water to stop it sticking if needed.
4. Add the beef (with any juices), tomatoes, stock, brown sauce, salt, pepper and potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan and cook for on a low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the coconut, sultanas and chutney, mix well and continue cooking, uncovered for 10 minutes. The beef should be soft and the ‘curry’ thickened.
6. Add a sprinkle of coconut and a few sultanas to garnish and serve.

CHEF’S TIP
This is what many people in Britain would have experienced as their first taste of a curry. Don’t temped to add more spices.
Grandma’s Beef Curry would have been seen as exotic in many British households in the 1960s.

If you like this you should try our
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Check out 5 Best Goa Curries

What do you sing after getting served this dish. “Grandma, I love you!”

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