A delicious, simple-to-make braised Sri Lankan beef curry.
I am going through a real phase of loving Sri Lankan food at the moment, and this beef curry, adapted from a Charmaine Solomon recipe is so simple to make, and incredibly tasty, that I had to share it.
It's also naturally low in fat, as it contains no coconut and only a small amount of oil, so it's pretty guilt-free too!
This serves four people as part of a meal served with a vegetable side dish and rice (or cauliflower rice - although if you're a complete meat head and want it on its own, it would probably make two or three servings), but it is very easily doubled. Even better the next day, and freezes beautifully.
199 calories per serving (between four people). Slimming World Syn free.
- 450g lean diced casserole / stewing steak (e.g. I used Sainsbury's TTD lean diced beef, which turned out lovely and tender) 
- 1/2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil for dairy free (Slimming World use 1 calorie oil spray) 
- 1 onion 
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed 
- 1 inch ginger, grated 
- 4 tsp Sri Lankan / Ceylon roasted curry powder* (See notes below to make your own, check gluten free) 
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds 
- 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1/2 x 15ml tbsp vinegar (white wine or cider) 
- 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped 
- 1 ripe tomato, skinned and diced 
- 100ml water
1. Dice the steak into approximately 2cm cubes, if not already diced, and finely chop the onion.
2. Heat the ghee/oil in a saucepan (about 17cm is good) and add the diced onions. Cook over a low to medium heat, stirring, until they start to turn golden brown.
3. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook through for a few minutes, then add the curry powder, turmeric and mustard seeds and cook for a couple more minutes, before adding 1/2 tsp salt with the vinegar and beef, and stirring to coat.
4. Add the fresh chilli and tomato and 100ml of water, stir, then cover and cook for approximately two hours, stirring occasionally (and adding extra water if needed - I add another 50ml after about an hour, and another 50ml towards the end if needed) until the beef is tender.
5. When the beef is cooked and the sauce has thickened to your liking (take the lid off and simmer to reduce if necessary), taste and add more salt if necessary (I like to use another 1/2 teaspoon, but it will depend on your taste, and how thick you like your sauce). Serve with rice (or cauliflower rice), and a vegetable dish, and other accompaniments and curries if desired. Enjoy!
For the roasted Sri Lankan curry powder [379 calories in total, approximately 19 calories per tbsp/6g]
- 25g cumin seeds 
- 50g coriander seeds 
- 25g fennel seeds 
- 1 cinammon stick (about 3 inches, or if you won’t be able to grind it use 1 tbsp cinnamon powder) 
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds 
- ½ tsp cloves 
- Seeds from 10 green cardamom pods (discard the pods) – about ½ tsp 
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds 
- 1 tsp black peppercorns 
- 4 dried long red chillies (shake out the seeds first, if you want a milder curry powder) 
If you’re not using pre-made curry powder, then make this first. Gently roast all of the whole spices, by putting them in a dry frying pan, over a low to medium heat and keeping them moving until they have darkened a little and become fragrant. Once you can smell the spices roasting it’s time to remove them elsewhere (out of the frying pan) to cool down. You may wish to do this in batches, and do the dried chillies on their own. Once the spices are roasted and cooled, grind them to a powder (easiest done in an electric spice grinder - you can pick one of these up for about £13, e.g. Andrew James, and I've found it very useful and reliable). This will store for at least three months in an airtight container.
If you're cooking gluten free, and you buy curry powder rather than making your own, make sure you check it's gluten free.
If anyone (in the UK) is interested in buying some Sri Lankan curry powder, I can recommend the hot version from a lovely Sri Lankan lady I know, called Gayani - you can contact her here for more information about purchasing it (it's called Gold Dust) - firstname.lastname@example.org