Kerala's Muslims make this hearty curry for Ramadan and other special occasions. Soujath Ahsraf of Thrikkakara fixed this dish for us; she serves it with rice-flour flat bread that is dipped into coconut milk, then wrapped around a chunk of curry.
- 1 1⁄2 lb. boneless, well-marbled chuck steak, cut into 3⁄4" cubes
- 4 tsp. ground coriander seeds
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1⁄2 tsp. cayenne
- 1⁄2 tsp. fennel seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle
- 1⁄4 tsp. turmeric
- 1 1⁄4 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. Ghee
- 1 (1") piece cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 18 curry leaves
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 (3/4") piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 fresh hot green chiles (serrano or thai), split lengthwise just up to the stem
- 1⁄2 tsp. fresh lime juice
Put beef, coriander, cumin, cayenne, fennel, turmeric, salt, and 1 cup water in a medium pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until meat is cooked through, 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat, uncover, and set aside.
Heat oil and ghee in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add cinnamon and cloves, and fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Carefully add curry leaves (the leaves will spatter when they hit the hot oil), and after they have spattered for a few seconds, add onions, and sauté until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add ginger, garlic, and chiles, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are well browned, about 20 minutes longer.
Set aside 1⁄4 cup of the cooking liquid from the meat, then add meat and remaining liquid from pot to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid reduces to a thick sauce that coats the meat and the meat is tender with some chew, 20–30 minutes. (Add a little of the reserved cooking liquid if sauce thickens before meat is cooked.) Remove skillet from heat, and add lime juice and a little more salt, if you like.