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Beef dopiaza

This is a recipe I frequently use. It may not be absolutely authentic but the flavour is immense. Serves about 8 people.


  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 kg stewing or braising steak chopped into 2.5 cm pieces
  • 1 kg onions peeled and sliced into half-moon shapes 1 cm thick
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 8 dried red chillis finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 10 tomatoes chopped
  • 150 g creamed coconut
  • 300 ml natural yoghurt
  • fresh coriander to serve
  • long grain rice to serve


  1. Roast all the whole spices in a small frying pan over a medium heat and stir for a few minutes until they start to toast and pop in the pan. Transfer them to a pestle and mortar and crush to a powder.
  2. Put a glug of olive oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish over a high heat and brown the meat in batches. Remove to a plate, then add 1 tbsp of oil and when it’s hot fry the onions till well browned, this could take around 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further few minutes.
  3. Return the meat to the pan, add the crushed spices, fenugreek powder, turmeric, ginger and tomatoes and stir.
  4. Now grate the creamed coconut into a bowl and combine it with around 500ml of boiling water using a whisk, then, when dissolved, pour it into the casserole, followed by the yoghurt and some seasoning. Now bring the mixture up to a simmer, pop on the lid and simmer slowly for 2 hours.
  5. Serve with rice, chopped coriander, riata and side dishes.