Friday, October 31, 2008


I was trying to will the Chicken Ginger to come to life so I wouldn't have to cook this morning, but alas! I still had to cook. So cook I did, albeit with sighs and groans. I had thawed some boneless beef chunks right after Fajr, intending to make Rendang when my Friday visitor comes over, but she couldn't make it, so my menu changed because Rendang takes forever to make!

I wanted to make Pengek Daging (an Indonesian meat dish I have come to love), and I started working on the onions and garlic. I realized I didn't have ginger, fresh ginger, I mean. I dumped the onion chunks and garlic cloves in the blender, and as I looked up, I spied the new plastic jar of Madras curry powder I recently bought from the New Asia Super Market on 161. Hubby had said it was quite expensive, but I had made meatball curry using that curry powder and it was a hit! So I bought it anyway.

Normally, when I make curry, I would mince the onions, garlic, and ginger and then make a wet paste out of that and the curry powder, but today, I was feeling unmotivated, so I pounded the onions and garlic, forgoing the missing ginger, and sauteed them, with a spoon nonetheless, which reminded me of a friend who remarked that my kitchen was high tech because I had cutting boards, cooking utensils, and blenders *chuckle*. When she demonstrated how to make sukhaar to me, she simply stirred the ingredients in the pan with a humble spoon, whereas I would have gone for one of the cooking utensils. So I guess I decided to go 'low tech' this morning and save myself some dish washing labor.

I dumped the Madras curry powder in the sizzling oil that was nicely extracting the aromatic fragrance of cooking onion and garlic, and lo and behold, we had a 'curry mass'. Then I tossed in the whole spices as my oldest daughter watched on, with my tot on her hips. He was cranky because he didn't take his morning nap, which I had tried to make him take but he refused, oh so there you have it, one more thing that drove (or should I make that present tense) me to the depths of demotivation.

Realizing that I hadn't yet prepared the meat, I beckoned my son to stir it for me. So he did, while I scrambled and fumbled with half frozen beef chunks that threatened to give my fingers frostbite as I hastily cut them into haphazard small pieces, so as to speed up the cooking process, so we could eat lunch ASAP.

I have to admit, that while I thought of making beef curry, I thought of this blog. more recipe to put up, and a few more food photography practice to indulge in!

However, the 'mass' in the pot was on the verge of burning as my son stirred it dutifully, so I grabbed a bowl, filled it with tap water and dumped it in the pot. I had intended to dump in the beef pieces first, but ahhh...there goes my 'orderly' recipe for the blog. I continued to deal with the cold beef chunks, struggling with some fat that stubbornly belied my dull knife, which immediately set off these thoughts in my head,

We need to get a set of new sharp knives, but oh...we can't because we don't know where we're going yet.

And those thoughts my dear Watson, are catalysts for other more depressing thoughts, so I will stop right there.

I added more water and tossed in all the beef pieces, and as my son stirred it, I looked on. It actually looked good.

"Does it look good?" I asked him.


I skipped adding coconut milk, just because I was lazy and also because we have been consuming a lot of coconut milk as of late, and I just don't want to drive my bad cholesterol up the roof. About half an hour or more later, or maybe less, I don't know, I didn't look at the time, and if I did, it was to help my daughter give my allergic tot his first taste of rice milk at measured amounts and spaced intervals. With all the physical and mental multitasking I was doing, it was a wonder I even had lunch ready by the time we were ready to have it.

Such a simply and haphazardly made dish has managed to elicit such joy in my children, such that my son offered to cook more rice because he wanted to eat again after Jumuah prayer. As for me, despite my sighs and groans, I managed also to prepare the beef chunks for Satay Padang and Dendeng, which I hope will be blogworthy enough to be put up here in the very near future inshaallah.

Impromptu Madras Beef Curry

1/2 - 1 lb. boneless beef, cut into small bitesize pieces
1 onion, roughly pounded (or minced)
3-4 cloves of garlic, roughly pounded (or minced)
2 whole cloves
1 star anise
2-3 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken
1/2 - 1/3 cup Madras Curry Powder
1/3 cup oil
lemon juice

1. Heat oil and saute onion and garlic till fragrant
2. Add in the whole spices
3. Add in curry powder and stir the resulting wet oily paste
4. Turn down heat to medium low, and continue stirring until the oil breaks the surface
5. Add beef slices, and stir to coat beef with paste
6. Add water enough to cover beef pieces
7. Cover and bring to boil
8. Turn down heat and bring to simmer until beef pieces are tender
9. Squeeze some lemon juice to taste, and salt to taste
10. Serve hot with white Jasmine rice and accompanying greens

Cook's Notes:

  • You can also mix the minced onions, garlic, whole spices, and curry powder and add enough water to make a wet paste and saute this in the oil instead of step 1 through 3 above
  • You can keep the beef pieces big too if you want, but the cooking time might be longer to cook them till they are tender
  • You can also garnish it with fresh curry leaves if you have any on hand
  • You can also toss in peeled potato chunks and sliced carrots while at the simmering step (Step 8)

1 comment:

  1. MasyaAllah.. what a good looking curry we have here! The pics and the curry itself :D