Updated: Mar 9
As a chef, I have a passion for cooking, and one dish that holds a special place in my heart is beef madras. A classic of Indian cuisine, beef madras has a rich history and a bold flavour that sets it apart from other dishes.
What is Beef Madras?
Originating from the southern region of India, beef madras is a spicy and flavorful stew made with tender pieces of beef, a blend of aromatic spices, and a tangy tomato sauce. The dish has its roots in the cuisine of the Madras Presidency, a former province of British India, where it was created by combining the bold spices and flavours of Indian cooking with the richness of the beef.
Over the years, beef madras has become a staple of Indian restaurants around the world, and it's a dish that I take great pride in preparing for my diners. The key to a delicious beef madras lies in the combination of the right spices, and getting the balance just right is essential. Typically, I use a blend of cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, and chilli powder, along with a touch of cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, to create the dish's signature flavour. I also add some ginger and garlic for a touch of sharpness and depth, and I use a generous amount of curry leaves for that classic Indian aroma.
When it comes to the beef itself, I prefer to use a cut that is tender and flavorful, such as sirloin or rib-eye. I brown the beef in a pan until it is cooked through and has a nice crust, and then I add my spice mixture, along with some crushed tomatoes, and let the beef simmer until it is tender and the flavours have melded together. To finish, I like to garnish the dish with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and some lemon wedges, which help to balance the rich and spicy flavours.
When serving beef madras, I like to pair it with a side of basmati rice and some naan bread, which helps to soak up all the delicious sauce. And of course, no beef madras is complete without a cold beer or a glass of Indian lassi to wash it all down.
Beef madras is a dish that has a rich history and a bold flavour that sets it apart from other dishes. As a chef, I have a deep appreciation for this classic of Indian cuisine, and I take great pride in preparing it for my diners. Whether you are a seasoned chef or a home cook, this is a dish that is sure to impress and leave you with a memorable experience.
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Ingredients for Beef Madras Marinade:
500g (1.1Pound) Beef chuck steak diced into 2,5cm cubes (you can use any braising cut if chuck is not available)
1tbsp of ginger & garlic paste
1tbsp vegetable oil
1tsp of salt
1 lemon juice
1tbsp of finely chopped curry leaves
3tbsp of Madras spice blend
Ingredients for Madras Spice Blend:
3tbsp ground coriander
3tbsp ground cumin
2tbsp ground turmeric
2tbsp chilli powder (adjust to your preference)
2tbsp garam masala
1tsp black pepper
1/2tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2tsp of ground cloves
1/2tsp of ground cardamom
Ingredients for the Beef Madras Curry:
500g of marinated Beef
enough water to cover the meat during slow-cooking
2tbsp of ghee or vegetable oil
1 large onion, small dice
1tbsp of garlic & ginger paste
3tbsp of Madras spice blend
400ml of vegetable stock
4tbsp of tomato puree
juice of a half lemon (or lemon wedges to serve)
1tsp of sugar
1 beef stock cube
a handful of fresh coriander leaves and seeds
papadam, rice or naan bread to serve.
How to prepare Beef Madras:
1. Prepare the Madras spice blend by mixing the ingredients. It will make more than you need for the recipe (you can always add more at the end of cooking to boost the flavour)
2. Place the beef in the bowl and marinate by mixing all the ingredients from the list with the meat. Place in the fridge overnight.
3. On the following day, sear the beef in a frying pan over high heat and transfer it to a slow-cooker or a pot (do not over-fry it as it will make your meat dry, you want a nice caramelization on one side of each piece) Add enough hot water to cover the meat and cook covered on low until tender. This can take 2-3 hours depending on the cut used (a slow cooker can take longer).
4. In the meantime prepare the sauce. In a medium-sized pan heat 2 tbsp of ghee or vegetable oil, add diced onion, and fry over medium heat until soft and browned.
5. Add 1 tbsp of garlic ginger paste, 3tbsp of Madras spice blend and cook until fragrant.
6. Add vegetable stock, tomato puree, beef stock cube, 1 tsp of sugar, and lemon juice. Mix together and bring to a boil. Blend sauce and adjust seasoning to your preference, remove from the heat until needed.
7. Once the beef is tender and connective tissue has turned into jelly, separate it from the liquid. Add beef to the sauce plus a little bit of the cooking stock.
8. Continue cooking on low heat until the thick consistency of the sauce is reached.
9. Serve Beef Madras with fresh coriander seeds and leaves. Crunch with papadam, rice and naan bread. Enjoy!
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Tips for Cooking Beef Madras:
The slow cooker's low setting is approximately 90C (194F). A high setting brings the cooking temperature to around 100C (212F).
Collagen - the connective tissue in the meat begins to dissolve to gelatin at a temperature of 70C (160F). Lower cooking temperatures and longer time result in a juicer and tenderer meat.
Check out my other Curry Recipes:
Sri Lankan Palak Dal - Delicious vegetarian curry with lentils and spinach.
Chicken Tandoori with Vegetable Biryani & Cucumber Raita - Of all the South Asian dishes Chicken Tandoori is definitely one of my favourites.
Crunchy Cauliflower Bites & Tikka Masala Dip - Easy to prepare, vegetarian snack with an aromatic dip.
Onion Bhajis - There is nothing better than homemade Onion Bhajis!
Chickpea Madras Curry - Super easy to prepare, vegetarian curry.