Today’s dish is basically a curry, but it doesn’t belong to any particular cuisine or other aside from vaguely being South-East Asian in character. I put it together in order to try braising beef with Coconut Water as a sort of follow up to my recent Vietnamese Braised Pork dish made with that particular ingredient. By the way, the Coriander in this reparation is not the leaf Coriander also known as ‘Cilantro’ (which I hate), but rather the ground seed (which I love) …
- 2 lbs. Beef, sliced into thick strips;
- 1 large Onion, finely chopped;
- 1 large Red Bell Pepper, slivered;
- 1 – 1½ cups Coconut Water;
- 2 tbsp. minced Ginger;
- 2 tbsp. Garlic Paste;
- 3 tbsp. Chili Paste (I used Sambal Oelek);
- 3 tbsp. Butter;
- Cooking Oil;
- 1 ½ tbsp. Coriander seed;
- 1 tsp. Fenugreek Seed;
- 1 tsp. Salt;
- 1 tsp. Black Peppercorns;
- 3 Cloves;
- 1 tsp. Turmeric.
First, grind together the spice blend ingredients and the stir the powder in to the Beef. Allow this to marinate along with a tablespoon of oil for several hours or overnight. As it happened, circumstances conspired to have me leave the meat in the refrigerator for nearly two full days and I believe this actually improved the final result.
When you are ready to cook, heat up a few tablespoons of oil in a pot over moderate heat and, working in small batches, quickly brown the beef strips, removing them to a bowl as they are done. You may need to add a little additional oil with each batch.
Next, add the butter to the pot and then sauté the onions and ginger. Add a little splash of water at the beginning and scrape up the caramelized brown bits leftover from the beef as you stir the onions. You may notice that I have switched pots after this part of the process… You won’t need to do his unless you discover, as I did, that the original one was a bit small for cooking the whole dish. Anyway, as the onions soften, turn down the heat and cook slowly, stirring from time to time, until they are nicely golden brown.
Turn up the heat to medium high and add back the peppers, garlic and chili paste. When the peppers begin to soften add the meat, including any juices thrown off, and sauté a few moments longer.
Finally, add the coconut water to just cover the meat and allow it to come to a brisk boil. Let it bubble for a few minutes and then turn down to simmer for a half-hour or so, cooking until the liquid is much reduced and thickened to a rich sauce. You can serve right away, if you like but the dish will improve no end if you allow it to cool overnight and then reheat for service the next day. Rice is a good accompaniment, and, as illustrated in the first picture, you can include some other ‘sambals’ to sprinkle on top at the table. I have used peanuts, and, as a ‘cool-down’ for the spiciness of the chili, some chunks of canned pineapple Enjoy…