To go with my pilau rice, I decided to make a beef dish, something like those meat dishes I love so much at Malay weddings.
I followed a recipe from one of the many recipe books I have, but true to my own laziness, did not follow exactly. For example, the recipe called for onion paste but I was too lazy to grind onions. Then there was ‘5 green chillies’. When I opened my fridge, I saw exactly 5 red chillies (which was needed in the recipe) but no green chillies.
But in the end, my resulting dish was still amazingly a resounding success. Not to blow my own trumpet here but I received the most sincere compliment from MY MOTHER. Well, as any Asian girl will jolly well know, NOTHING and I mean absolutely NOTHING can be please an Asian mother.
But a few days after I’ve given the some of the meat dish to her, I returned to my cubicle, saw a message on whatsapp and read my mother’s message in disbelief. The day after I cooked this dish, I brought some to work and my colleagues praised me. It wasn’t the usual polite praise of thanks.
Well, my point here is after many years of cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, I have now in a way understood the art of cooking without having to look at a recipe and following precise measurements. I can use my gut feeling and go by sight, taste and some understanding of how ingredients work. In other words, I have become a real ASIAN MOTHER myself. 🙂 🙂
My beef dish recipe
In a wok add some ghee and olive oil, and then cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick and stir fry thinly sliced onions until slightly yellow.
Add finely chopped fresh chillies, garlic mince or paste, fresh diced tomatoes and a smashed lemon grass. (If I had the onion paste, I’d have put it in as well).
Add beef cubes which have been boiled with water till almost soft.
Then stir in half a can or a small can of tomato paste (I like to use gilda brand).
Stir in 4 heaped tablespoons of meat curry powder (I like to use Baba’s brand).
Add the water from the boiled beef. Cover the wok.
After about 20 minutes, uncover the wok and let it simmer till the liquid has reduced and thickened to a gravy like consistency.
Stir salt in.
Once beef is fork tender and the seasoning is perfect (oh when I tasted line it was a tad too acidic for me as I had added too much tomato paste so I balanced that with some brown sugar), switch the heat off.
To serve, sprinkle toasted almond slivers, raisins and coriander leaves. And, crispy fried shallots. 🙂 try this one day! Super satisfying.