If there is one thing I know for certain it’s that alignment is only temporary. One day everything feels cohesive the next it’s crumbling. That’s okay! It’s how you choose to play with what you have that determines the outcome. Enter, Surprise! Indian Beef Masala? ❤
I had been working non-stop all day and was really looking forward to the beef fajitas I’d planned on making for dinner. I headed into the kitchen and got to work. I was moving pretty slowly so you’d think I was being extra careful, but, the truth is, my mind was someplace else entirely. I placed my sliced peppers and onions in a large glass bowl and dressed them with avocado oil and a little salt. I reached for (what I thought was) the cumin and eyeballed a tablespoon into the mix.
All the f-bombs.
It was Garam Masala!!! An earthy, warm spice blend indigent to the middle east. It’s very fragrant and because of the presence of clove. It’s unmistakably Indian. Not Mexican.
I felt defeated. I was so tired. The last thing I wanted to do was reimagine dinner. I quickly went into flight mode and started thinking about what I had on hand that could turn this simple (life changing) mistake into a success.
I quickly googled something along the lines of “garam masala beef indian curry stove top” and looked for options that weren’t A) super time consuming and B) overloaded with ingredients. I ended up finding a recipe for Madras Beef Curry that seemed promising.
While I didn’t have all of the ingredients on-hand, I had enough of them to improvise a meal. With my beef and veggies already prepped, the option to play with what I had was favorable to the others I was considering at the time (Pizza. I wanted to order all the pizza.)
The dish took 25 minutes active time and then simmered on the stove top fo5 1.5. The aroma that filled the house was magical. After the first 30 minutes, I reached for my wooden spoon and (hesitantly) stirred the dish to check for seasoned. I replaced the lid and walked to the sink. I lifted the spoon and licked the back. As I relaxed my jaw and swirled my tongue to taste my made up meal I was pleasantly surprised. It was rich and satisfying without being overly spicy. I went back to the stove top and removed the lid yet again and sliced a small piece of beef. With little to no effort, the knife fell through the meat like it buttuh. I did a happy dance and replace the lid for the next half hour. In the meantime I did some reading, and folded laundry. At the final half hour mark I proceeded to round out the meal with a quick celery and cumin raita, rice, and a flour tortilla with butter and garlic (intending to replicate naan).
I was catastrophically proud of this dish. I was so excited to share it with my boyfriend (look what I can do!)
When I went to wake him up from his nap I quickly realized that wasn’t happening. Sleep is a very precious commodity in our house ♥ Instead of pouting (like I may have in the past) I turned on some Michael Buble, admired what I felt was a lovely table setting, and enjoyed what may have been some of the best Indian inspired food I’ve ever had.
Knowing my other half would be enjoying his meal later on, I left the rice in my rice cooker slash slow cooker slash steamer (brilliant) and added in what was left of the Surprise! Beef. I inserted the steam basket on top and nestled the “naan” in wrapped up in a napkin to prevent it from becoming mushy. The food stayed warm and ready to be enjoyed the remainder of the evening 🙂
〉 〉 〉 ∴ After cooking it on the stove top, I incorporated it with the rice and kept it warm in the slow cooker ∴〈〈〈
Life is silly. Sometimes you’re thinking gouda when it’s clearly brie baby 😉 That’s okay. It’s okay. It always has been and always will be. Now, let’s learn how to pick up the pieces and make that Madras Beef turned Surprise! Beef Masala? (I say “Masala”? because even I don’t know what exactly I made).
Large sautee pan with a lid
Large glass bowl (for dressing your veggies)
Small glass bowl (for mixing your spices)
1 tablespoon Garam Masala (–what started it all)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (Remove the top. Slice once in half lengthwise and then into thin slices width wise)
2 small onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of avocado, coconut, or olive oil
*2 tablespoons ground coriander
*1 tablespoon ground cumin
*1 teaspoon ground turmeric
*1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*2 cloves of garlic, minced
*One 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
*Freshly squeezed lime juice from one small lime
1 tablespoon of grass-fed butter
1 lb flat iron steak, preferably grass fed, sliced into 1-1 1/2 cubes (you could use stew meat or chuck if you wish but I can’t guarantee the same results)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock (I like this)
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk from a can
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
What to do:
- Before slicing the beef generously with salt and pepper and bring it to room temperature by allowing it to rest on a plate for 30 minutes. Slice into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes.
- In a large glass bowl, toss the sliced red bell pepper, onion, oil, and garam masala until evenly coated. Season with salt and toss again.
- In a small bowl, combine ingredients with an asterisk and make a paste. Set aside.
- Warm the grass-fed butter over high heat in your skillet (remember, this is a one pot meal so it should be sizable and it should have a lid).
- Once the butter is melted, add the beef. Sear on all sides, stirring every so often for 5 minutes (it will finish cooking in the stew)
- Remove the beef and it’s juices and set aside in a medium bowl
- Immediately add the peppers and onions to the skillet. Saute until softened (about 1o minutes)
- Add the spice mixture and cook to release the aromatics (about 2 minutes)
- Reintroduce the beef and saute for an additional 5 minutes
- Add in the stock, coconut milk and cayenne. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium low (3ish on an electric range) and cover. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every so often.
Serve with white rice, celery raita, and tortilla naan.
Celery Raita (For when you didn’t plan on making indian food)
1 oz full fat kefir
1 celery stalk thinly sliced (the thinner the better)
1/4 of a small white onion, thinly sliced (” “)
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
lots of cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon cumin (more to taste)
What to do:
Mix it all up and chill for 1 hour prior to serving. I made this after my food was prepped before I started cooking.
1 medium flour tortilla
1/2 tablespoon grass-fed butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic (add as much as your little heart desires)
dash of salt
What to do:
- Turn the broiler on high
- Warm your tortilla for a few moments, watching carefully
- Remove your tortilla from the broiler
- Spread the butter on your tortilla and sprinkle with garlic
- Place back in broiler and watch for it to brown, varies. Just watch it. You have the time.
- Remove from the broiler and fold in half. Place in a towel to keep warm.
Happy wellbeing ❤