Author of Indian Family Kitchen Anjali Pathak provides us with a new and exciting way to perfect chilli beef with black pepper.
She says: “I first tasted an Indian dish that was laced with chillies when I was on a culinary trip around coastal India a few years ago. It was pretty fiery, but underneath all that heat was a wonderful warmth and flavour.
This is quite hot, so go easy on the chillies if you can’t handle yours. I’m using the delicious, tender cut of beef fillet, but you can use any cut you like; just make sure it’s lean, otherwise it will be chewy. It’s pretty quick, like a stir-fry, so try and use a wok if you have one but if not a large, heavy-based frying pan will do. This is a great recipe when you fancy something big on flavour but small on prep time.”
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, finely crushed with a pestle and mortar
1 cinnamon stick
15–20 fresh curry leaves (see My Secret, page 20) – just leave them out if you don’t have fresh
1 tbsp peeled and julienned fresh root ginger
2 tsp garlic paste, or pound
3 garlic cloves with a pestle and mortar
3 green chillies, 1 sliced and 2 slit down the middle but left whole
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp tomato purée, mixed with
2 tbsp water
600g (1lb 5oz) beef fillet, cut into strips around 1cm (1/2in) thick
good pinch of salt, or to taste good pinch of sugar, or to taste
finely sliced spring onions, to garnish
1 Gently heat the oil in a wok, or large heavy-based frying pan, and add the mustard seeds, crushed peppercorns and cinnamon stick. After a minute or so the mustard seeds will be jumping out of the pan, so add the curry leaves, ginger, garlic, chillies and turmeric. Allow to soften for a minute before pouring in the tomato purée mix.
2 Stir well, then turn up the heat and add the beef. Keep moving it around the pan so that it colours and then turns golden brown. It will have more flavour if you allow it to caramelize, but be careful not to burn the other ingredients. The beef won’t take long to cook – around a minute if you like it pink in the middle.
3 Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and sugar. Sprinkle over some sliced spring onions and serve with my simple Foolproof Pilau Rice (see page 148) and a well-needed cooling Cucumber Raita (see page 166).
Adding whole chillies, as well as sliced, gives the dish background warmth instead of burning heat. Pick them out and bite into them if you fancy a real heat kick.
Recipe and image from Secrets From My Indian Family Kitchen by Anjali Pathak, Hachette Australia. On sale from the 12th of May, $39.99