Beef & almond curry

Madhur Jaffrey (yes, her again) traces the ancestry of this dish to the Persian shahi korma, lamb cubes smothered in a rich almond and cream sauce. We enjoy Jaffrey’s version with beef, although you can use lamb if you prefer – but you have a lamb dhansak recipe already in the archive. This can be cooked on the stove or in the oven – I prefer the latter because it fills the house with a most delicious smell and leaves the hob free for assembling vegetable sides such as sweet & sour okra or Lake Palace aubergines. Raitha might accompany it too, and even a tomato salsa like the one we eat with lamb dhansak

Serves 4-6


8 cloves garlic, peeled
2.5 cm cube fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
50g flaked almonds
6 tbsp + 250ml water
7 tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil
900g stewing beef, cut into 2.5 cm chunks
10 cardamom pods
6 cloves
2.5 cm cinnamon stick
200g onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1¼ tsp salt
300ml single cream
¼ tsp garam masala


Preheat the oven to 160 fan

Put the garlic, ginger, almonds and 6 tbsp water into the container of a small electric blender. Blend until you have a paste.

Put the oil in a wide, heavy pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in just enough meat pieces so they lie, uncrowded, in a single layer. Brown the meat on all sides, then remove with a slotted spoon and put in a bowl. Repeat with remaining batches of meat, adding more oil if necessary.

Put the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in the hot oil. Within seconds the cloves will expand. Now add the onions. Stir and fry until they turn a brownish colour. Turn the heat down a bit, then put in the paste from the blender, along with the coriander, cumin and cayenne. Stir and fry this mixture for 3-4 minutes or until this too has browned a bit. (It will smell fabulous!) Now return the meat to the pan as well as any liquid that has accumulated in the meat bowl, and add the salt, the cream and 250ml water. Bring to a boil, cover and put in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. (Alternatively, simmer over a low heat on the stove.) Check and stir every 30 minutes. Once it’s ready, skim off any fat that has floated to the top and try to fish out the whole spices, which aren’t meant to be eaten, obvs. Sprinkle in the garam masala and mix.

Published by motherrach

Alongside this blog, which records tried and tested family favourites, I’m documenting on Instagram (mother_rach_cooks) my efforts in repertoire expansion.

2 thoughts on “Beef & almond curry

  1. looks yummy so we are trying it tonight and found the original in an old Madhur book, we have several ? three, “Royal Persian”. Charlie is our curry guru and prefers Anjun (on a Jan dry and veggie patch and found a superb beetroot curry)

    During this lockdown Tessa cooking up a storm so Wed and Sat are curry nights, no substitute for our spring fortnight in India but….; although she cannot wait for me to return to my 2-3 evenings in London a week on masonic duties as she did “not marry me for supper”

    Poor Mumsy taking her time but still a remarkable transformation and patience needed; hopefully the spring arriving in Sx will be a tonic

    On the make!!!! so treat this plea honestly!! As you know Glyndebourne anticipated the “road map” and are opening in late May at just under half audience but not the standing which is our usual haven. Inevitably the restriction is to 6 tickets per member for the whole season. SO, if by any chance you are not “using” your allocation, could I?? It would need your help in going online on Sun March 14th at 1000, if you are not in church, and doing the booking; they are doing 4 staged operas and Tristan semi; so it would be the relatively simple attempt for 6 places at one performance

    Keep safe sane and smiling, RD



    1. Have had same Glydenourne request from Peter! Was vaguely thinking of applying for 2 tickets for Cosi but yet to discuss with Dom. Will let you know.


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