Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keralan Beef Short Ribs

I've really been enjoying Food and Wine magazine lately.  In the September issue they had a story about Asha Gomez who is from Kerala, the Southwestern Province on India's tropical coast.  She operates Cardamom Hill, an Indian restaurant in Atlanta. 

Apparently they eat eat beef in Kerala-I must confess to being pretty ignorant about Indian food.  The recipes are usually so long and require so many spices I don't have that I usually pass.  These recipes seemed so approachable with simpler ingredients that I already had in my spice cabinet that I gave them a try and was rewarded with some marvelously flavored dishes.  Of course I was familiar with yellow curry powder-which is a blend of several spices, but Asha's recipe for Fragrant South Indian Beef Curry contains another popular spice blend called Garam Masala.  I went to the Asian market and purchased an intriguing looking tin of this spice mixture.  It came with a small cookbook written in English and Arabic-I will try some of them sometime.  Asha's recipe calls for boneless short ribs and a cooking time of 1 1/2 hours, simmered over very low heat.  I changed the recipe to used bone in short ribs, tripled the sauce ingredients, and started the ribs on the stove top, but ended up braising them in the oven at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

Fragrant South Indian Beef Curry

2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
12 fresh curry leaves-I used bay
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
3 Tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground tumeric
4 small dried hot chiles-I used 1 tablespoon asian chili paste
4 star anise pods
2 cinnamon sticks
6 meaty beef short ribs
Salt to taste

In a medium enameled dutch oven, heat the oil until shimmering hot, add the onion and bay leaf, lower heat slightly and caramelise for about 7 minutes.

Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir cook for 1 minute until they are fragrant.

Stir in the dissolved tomato paste, coriander, garam masala, cayenne, tumeric, chili paste, star anise, and cinnamon.

Add the ribs and salt, stir until the ribs are coated with the spices.  Cover the pot and finish cooking in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours, stirring occaisionally.

Spoon off excess fat and remove the cinnamon sticks, star anise pods, and bay  leaves before serving.

Asha also presented a Red Cabbage Stir-fry with Coconut.  I made this a couple of times and it was really delicious, but the color of the red cabbage turned an unappetising color, so I tried the recipe with green cabbage and liked it much better, the tumeric turns is a beautiful shade of gold.  I also eliminated the coconut since I didn't have any on hand and forgot to get it at the Asian market.

Cabbage Stir-Fry

2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
10 fresh curry leaves-I used a couple bay leaves
2 pounds chopped cabbage
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
Salt to taste
3/4 cup chicken stock
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chile, semmed and chopped

In a large deep skillet, heat the oil.  Add the mustard and cumin seeds-cook until fragrant and seeds begin to pop-about 30 seconds.  Add the cabbage, bay leaves, and tumeric, season with salt.

Stir cook for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the stock and simmer the cabbage until it begins to soften.

In a food processor or blender, puree the garlic and chile.

Scrape the chile-garlic paste into the cabbage mixture and blend well, continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer-remove bay leaves before serving.

I garnished things with cilantro which is always complimentary to curries.