This British beef Raj curry combines all the elements of a classic beef curry—tender meat, garlic, onion, turmeric, garam masala—with a simpler technique borrowed from British stews. Imagine, all this in just an hour.
British Beef Raj Curry
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 4 to 6
In a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the beef in batches and cook, stirring as needed, until browned on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate, and repeat with the remaining meat.
If the Dutch oven or saucepan appears dry, add 1 tablespoon butter. Toss in the onions and sauté over medium heat until they’re softened and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then return the beef to the Dutch oven or saucepan along with any juices that have collected on the plate. Stir in the chile powder, turmeric, salt, and 1 tablespoon garam masala, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the stock, followed by the coconut, if using, and raisins. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat until the beef is tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning, adding more garam masala to taste if desired. Serve immediately with rice, naan, or roti, and any desired garnishes. Originally published February 20, 2018.
*What You Need To Know About Kashmiri Chile Powder (And What To Use As A Substitute)
Kashmiri chile powder is an intensely red and medium hot chile powder commonly used in Indian cooking. You can find it at Indian markets and online. Beware, its vibrant coloring stains almost anything it comes in contact with.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
As part of a food studies course, I read extensively about the British "Raj" (rule) of India. The British did indeed adopt select aspects of the Indian cuisine, mostly by necessity, and with adjustments they transformed the recipes into small but tangible elements of home. When the expats returned to Britain they brought back these comforts and subsequently and simultaneously created a subgenre of both British and Indian cuisines. I felt as though I was testing a bit of history as I worked with this recipe.
Like any good stew, the ingredients came together sequentially and without much fuss. How wide your pot is will determine how many batches you will need to brown the beef. It took 3 batches in a Dutch oven for me. I found I needed to add another tablespoon of butter to sauté the onions. I also substituted 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 2/3 teaspoon sweet paprika (I eyeballed it using a teaspoon) for the Kashmiri chile powder. I let the curry simmer for 45 minutes and was satisfied with the spicing so I didn't add any additional garam masala at the end.
I presented the meal with garlic naan and basmati rice with green peas. We ate it just as it was, without any additional condiments, and it was bloody good. Enjoy!
This beef curry recipe really surprised me. While I felt this was going to be a decent recipe as the instructions were solid, I wasn't prepared to be blown away by the complex flavor and meltingly tender consistency. So I'll just come out and say that I love this recipe. Sweet, beefy, slightly spicy, with a hint of the exotic, this for me is what a good curry is all about.
We enjoyed this dish taco style—we added healthy spoonfuls of the stew into homemade pita and topped it with a little yogurt and jared mango chutney. Oh yes, yes. I couldn't find Kashmiri chile powder at my grocery store so ended up just using the suggested substitute. I used Hungarian sweet paprika and a bit of cayenne, which gave the stew a bit of heat.
I used Thompson seedless raisins that were big and plump. I didn't need to add anymore butter to the pan while browning the beef. So when it came time to add the onions I went with what was still left in the pan. This was perfect even for the large amount of sliced onions as they browned and softened beautifully. As for the simmering time, for me, the suggested time was way too short. I ended up adding 30 more minutes to give the beef a softer texture for a total of an hour and 15 minutes. I didn't add any extra garam masala at the end as I felt the seasoning and spice levels were kind of perfect for our tastes. If it ain’t broke, don't fix it.