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Beef Sukka - Indian Beef Curry

Beef Sukka
Beef Sukka with pilau rice

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Beef Sukka is a lovely Indian beef curry from the west coast of India which combines the styles of Goa and Kerala and Karnataka. It is usually made quite hot and is a distant cousin of the vindaloo in that it has lots of garlic and is marinated in wine vinegar.

A good Indian beef curry is not easy to find as most Hindus will not eat beef, but along the south west coast there is a large Christian influence brought in by traders from Portugal and then Holland. Coconut is native to the region and is used quite often in curry dishes either as flesh or as coconut milk or cream

This Indian beef curry dish is quite dry but with rich tastes where the spices and garlic and coconut and tomato all seem to shine through.

Basic Ingredients

1lb (450g) Beef
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1 inch (2.5 cm) ginger
2 tablespoons grated coconut
1 tablespoon tomato puree
½ cup white wine vinegar
Coriander leaves
Curry leaves (Optional)
Oil for frying

Black Pepper
1 inch (2.5cm) Cinnamon
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon fenugreek
Seeds from 4 cardamom pods
½ teaspoon turmeric

Notes on Ingredients

Beef Sukka
Beef Sukka

Beef. Like almost any other Indian beef curry you can use any cut of beef. I prefer stewing beef which can be cooked for a long time

Coconut. Some recipes use coconut cream, I usually use coconut flakes or shredded coconut or desiccated coconut

Vinegar. Although I have suggested white wine vinegar for this there is no reason not to substitute this with almost any other type of vinegar - although I would probably draw the line at balsamic. I have also seen tamarind used instead.

Tomato. I use tomato puree but there are recipes with whole tomatoes and I suspect that pasata would also be good

Oil. Mustard oil is really good and so is coconut oil. Ghee is good and adds to the richness. Other oils are ok

Chilli. In this Indian beef curry recipe I prefer to use chilli powder rather than fresh chillis - I include it in the marinade and it also gives the dish a lovely rich red colour. I seem to remember seeing a recipe for this that used Kashmiri red chillis which would give it a deep red colour. I use about ½ to 1 teaspoon of hot chilli powder in these quantities, this is medium hot but you can use more or less to suit.

Spices. This is a mix that I quite like but you can use other combinations of spices to suit your own taste. I have seen mustard seeds, cumin, cloves, salt and even sugar in various recipes.

Basic Method

Cut the meat into cubes about 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Sprinkle the meat with a few twists of the pepper grinder, add the chilli powder and the vinegar. Mix well and leave this to marinate whilst you are preparing the rest of the ingredients
Roast the coriander, cinnamon, fennel, and fenugreek in a dry frying pan, allow to cool then grind to a powder along with the seeds from the cardamom pods.
Slice the onions quite thickly.
Peel and mash the garlic
Peel the ginger and cut into tiny cubes or make into a paste with a blender or mortar and pestle
Grate the coconut if using fresh coconut
If using fresh or tinned tomatoes then peel and mash these

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan
Put in the onions, garlic and ginger and gently fry until the onions are soft
Add the ground spices, stir in and continue to fry for a few minutes
Turn up the heat and put in the meat in its marinade
Fry for a about 2 minutes on high heat, stirring all the time until the meat is brown the turn down the heat and continue to fry
Add the coconut and tomato and stir in.
After a further 2 minutes add the turmeric and stir in.
Turn the heat right down to a simmer (or transfer to a slow cooker) and cook for about 1 hours or until the meat is tender
About ten minutes from the end of cooking add the curry leaves
Turn out into a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves

Notes on Method

Not really much to say about this.

You can marinate the meat for longer if you wish and this will make the meat really tender

There is not much liquid in this so in the simmering stage you may want to check that it doesn't get too dry - just add a bit of water if necessary

As a Southern dish, this Indian beef curry would normally be eaten with rice rather than bread and just plain rice or pilau rice together with some chutney or pickle is really good with this dish. Any vegetable accompaniment like pakoras are also good

Just with rice this will serve 3-4 as a reasonable meal, with a vegetable dish, it's even more substantial.

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