Madras Beef Curry and Chapatis

Tonight Alec made Madras Beef Curry for dinner.  It was wonderful.  I generally make the food in our house, so it was very nice to have the night off too! Although he did the cooking I took some pictures and saw enough to post the recipe here.  To accompany the meal, I quick made some Chipatis, which is are unleavened flat bread from India.  We also made some Ceylon tea because I mistakenly thought it was from India, but it is actually from Sri Lanka.  For some tea that is actually from India, you could try Darjeeling, Assam, or Nilgiri (Darjeeling is my favorite of the three).

First you need to start by making the Madras curry paste.  This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of curry paste.

2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground tumeric

2 cloves crushed garlic

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/3 cup white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, then move from the pan.  Grind the seeds to a powder with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

Put the coriander and cumin, the mustard seeds,  black pepper, chili powder, turmeric, garlic, ginger, and salt in a small bowl and mix together well.  Add the vinegar and mix to a smooth paste.  The paste will keep for about a month in the fridge.

Madras Beef Curry

1 tablespoon ghee (we used butter)

1 onion, chopped

3 tablespoons of the madras curry paste

2 pounds chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup beef stock

Sauté the onion in the ghee or butter until browned.  Add the curry paste and stir for about 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add the meat and cook, stirring, until coated with the curry paste.  Stir in the tomato paste and stock.  Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, and then uncovered for another 15.

When done the meat should be tender and the sauce will be nice and thick. See picture below:

Serve with rice.


Chapatis are much quicker to make than naan, which is why I chose it to be honest.  They remind me a little bit of a whole wheat tortilla with butter brushed on.  They are grilled instead of baked.  If you have a griddle, it works really well, but a pan would be fine too.

1 1/2 cup atta or whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

scant 1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon olive oil

melter ghee or butter

To make mine a little more flavorful, I added some cumin seeds and a dash of curry powder to the dough.

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl (if using extra spices, add them here).  Add the water and mix to a soft dough. I did this with the dough hook attachment on my Kitchen Aid Mixer.  Add the oil.  After mixing, turn out the dough on a lightly oiled surface.

Knead for 5-6 minutes or until smooth.

Place in a covered bowl for 1/2 hour.  Turn out onto a floured surface.  Divide into 6 equal pieces.  Shape each into a ball.  Press the dough into a larger round with the palm of your hand, then roll into a 5 inch round.

Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium-high heat.  If using a pan, cook the chipatis one at a time.  You can cook more with a griddle.  Cook for a couple of minutes or until they start to bubble and brown slightly.

When cooked, brush them with some melted butter or ghee.


6 thoughts on “Madras Beef Curry and Chapatis

  1. Where are you getting your curry items? I get my yellow curry for things like Coconut Curry Shrimp at United Noodles, but Madras Curry is an Indian curry if I am correct. Am I correct in that?

    Where was that header image taken? The one with Alec being so hip and artsy.

    1. I can take this one Jennie.

      Well Josh, I made the curry paste myself using herbs and spices from Holy Land cause they are friggin’ cheap there (Jennie got me a book called ‘The Spice Bible’ which has lots of recipes for making your own curry powder/paste). I have a pestle and mortar to grid the spices into powder, then add white vinegar to make a paste.

      Also, I took that photo at Mariage Freres in Paris, France. It’s a super proper high end tea house where we went for tea one day and paid way too much for tea and some snacks during tea time. It was one of the most fun things about Paris though, believe it or not.

  2. I have never done my own spices, for some reason it has always intimidated me. Or, I may just be lazy. Either way that takes you guys to a whole new level of cooking.

    I saw the tarts that Jennie baked, do you guys prefer baking over cooking? Other way around? Or the same. I am not really into baking that much, kim prefers it and it much better at it to be frank. There is something about using knives and fire that makes me like cooking and it some sense its much more immediate.

    BTW, there will be a blog coming from kim and i soon, I will let you know when we finally start posting. Currently the weather is to cold (which will make sense when you see the blog).

    1. You really do get a better curry when you use your own spices instead of a mix. Plus if you get them somewhere like Holy Land the price isn’t bad.

      I do prefer baking actually. I like cooking too, but I find baking much more fun. Alec likes to cook better, though he does not do much of it (after debate we decided he has cooked 4 times since we got married).

      Let me know when you get your blog up, I will put a link to it on my site.

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