Serves 4

This recipe was inspired by a visit to Kerala in southwest India. You could use the curry paste of your choice instead of the spice combination below, but these seasonings work well together producing a very mild but tasty dish. Serve the curry with boiled rice, naan breads or chapattis and chutney, or lime pickle if you like it hot!

Print the recipe here.

Beef and coconut – Kerala style.

• 1 large onion

• 1 carrot

• 1 sweet potato

• 1 red chilli

• 1 clove garlic

• 100g creamed coconut

• 2 tbsp oil

• 1 tsp each of cumin and fennel seeds

• 6 each of green cardamoms, cloves and black peppercorns

• 500g braising steak

• 1 tsp ground turmeric

• 200ml water

• 400g can chopped tomatoes

• 1 large cinnamon stick

• 1 tsp salt

• Freshly chopped coriander to garnish

1. Prepare the vegetables. Dice the onion and cut the carrot and sweet potato into 2-3cm pieces. Finely chop the chilli with the garlic. Roughly chop the creamed coconut.

2. Heat a large pan and add the oil. Add the whole spices and cook for a few seconds until fragrant, then add the beef and turmeric and stir-fry briefly for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the onions with the water, cover the pan and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.

3. Add the diced vegetables with the chopped chilli, garlic and coconut and stir until the latter has melted. Add the tomatoes with the cinnamon and salt. Bring to the boil, stir and cover, then simmer very slowly or cook in a low oven at gas mark 3, 160°C for at least 2 hours, until the beef is tender. A longer cook of 3-4 hours in the oven will be fine, but add a little more water if necessary.

4. Season to taste and garnish with coriander.

My chicken, chick pea and kale variation

Top Tips:

• I used this basic recipe to make a curry with 1 diced chicken breast, half a can of chick peas and some shredded kale. I’d run out of turmeric but didn’t let that stop me – the curry was just pinker than it should have been. It worked really well and only needed a 30-40 minutes cooking time – much quicker than the beef.

• I think the beef version is my favourite – it’s just that, in these Lockdown Days, you have to garner inspiration and then compromise.

• You could use a 400g can of coconut milk instead of the creamed coconut and chopped tomatoes but it would be good to add 3-4 diced tomatoes to the curry for flavour and colour.

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