After a simple bit of preparation this is a hugely rewarding dish from the sunny shores of Sri Lanka. A little bit 'prep and forget' as the beef slow cooks to tender, fiery perfection. Serve with naans and basmati rice.
Ingredients – serves 6
1 ½ tablespoons Jaffna Curry Powder
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 tablespoons oil
1 kg beef chuck, diced
2 onions, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 red chilli seeded, finely chopped
8 curry leaves
1 lemongrass stem, white part only, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
250 ml coconut milk
250 ml beef stock
Dry-fry the black peppercorns in a frying pan over medium–high heat for 2–3 minutes. Allow to cool. Using a pestle and mortar, or a spice grinder, crush or grind to a powder.
In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the oil over high heat, brown the beef in batches, and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium, add the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, curry leaves, and lemongrass, and cook for 5–6 minutes, or until softened.
Add the curry powder and ground black pepper and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Put the beef back into the pan, and stir well to coat in the spices. Add the lemon juice, coconut milk and beef stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 2½ hours, or until the beef is very tender and the sauce is reduced. While cooking, skim any oil that comes to the surface and discard.