I’ve never used a slow cooker (or Crockpot, for those that prefer) before, so when Mama suggested using up some beef she’d rescued from the depths of the chest freezer and doing “something curry-y” with it using the slow cooker I was all for it.
For anyone not in the know, or too lazy to click the link up there, a slow cooker does exactly what you’d think – its a “countertop appliance” that, basically, simmers the crap out of whatever you put into it for as long as you want. Very good for “cheap” cuts of meat that have a lot of connective tissue and lean muscle fibre (sounds yum …) as the long, low cooking softens the connective tissue without toughening the meat (always a plus).
Mama is happy enough to make up her own sauce with whatever’s to hand, but this dish is a little different (and also contains something else rescued from the freezer’s icy claws – but never fear, alternatives are ALWAYS available!) as I just had to get involved with some other suggestions and a quick flick through an Indian cookbook. Probably not a buffad in its most traditional sense (it has no vinegar, for starters) but the sauce and the fact that its simmered away for a lengthy time helps (right?!).
- Braising steak (or similar), trimmed and cubed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- Few garlic cloves (as many or as little as you like!)
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cardamon pods, peeled
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 250-300ml tomato and chilli paste (this is the item that was also taken from the freezer – basically homemade tomato paste made from chopped tomatoes, roasted with a little garlic, and blitzed with a red chilli – an alternative would be to add a red chilli to the spice mix and add a tube of tomato paste, or a tin of chopped tomatoes [if using this then reduce the amount of stock accordingly])
- 200ml coconut milk
- 1 litre beef/chicken stock
- Half a head of cauliflower, small florets
- Half a red pepper
- 1 potato, cubed
- 1 carrot, diced
Either in a pestle and mortar or mini chopper/food processor/coffee grinder put a quarter of the onion, garlic, ginger and spices and blend to a paste. Add the tomato & chilli paste (if using fresh chilli and tubed tomato paste, add this here – if using tinned tomatoes, add these when adding liquid ingredients) and mix. Add to slow cooker and mix with the beef, coating each cube.
Add all other ingredients to the crockpot, and mix thoroughly. (I should point out here that you can use whatever vegetables you wish or have to hand … green beans are good … but keep them chunky as the cooking process here may turn them ‘mushy’.)
Switch to ‘high’ for a couple of hours, and then reduce to low heat for … well, as long as you want to until you’re sure the meat’s cooked through!
Serve with rice of whichever variant you wish!
(I should point out that as I write this, the ingredients are all in the cooker and aren’t looking all that inspiring … however, there will be photos once its all cooked and delicious!)