Comfort food means different things to different people. For a displaced Brit, comfort can be a bowl of masala, the sweet, heady spices bringing to mind a favorite curry shop in London. An Indian-inspired beef dish might seem oxymoronic, but India is the fifth largest beef producer and the seventh largest consumer of beef. Hence, it stands to reason that an Indian cook or two has made a similar dish. Even here in southwest Louisiana, these flavors and aromas bring friends and family to the table, appetites in hand.

Plus as paleo peeps, we’ve all gone against the norm and happily thrown convention to the winds with our culinary experiments. That spirit in mind, I developed a recipe with intoxicating aromas and a unique take on beef. It’s a simple recipe to prepare, budget-friendly when you use an economical chuck roast, and complex in flavors.

This recipe is also delicious with lamb, pork or chicken thighs . A “secret” ingredient in this dish is the kasoori methi, dried fenugreek leaves. It gives the dish its authentic flavor. If you have an Indian market in the neighborhood, you’ll find it in the dried-spice section. It’s also available online. But minced, fresh celery leaves are an excellent approximation.

I’ve used coconut milk to make the recipe strictly paleo, if you eat dairy, you could use Greek yogurt in the beef marinade and heavy cream for the sauce. But don’t use lite coconut milk which is just coconut milk and water, and makes for a watery sauce.

To accompany the meal, I served buttered green beans garnished with chopped cashews to play up the cashew butter in the sauce. You could substitute with almond butter and almonds if you prefer. So load up the playlist with Bollywood tunes and enjoy!!

Masala Beef
Serves 4
Masala beef is a simple Indian recipe to prepare. It is also budget friendly
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
FOR THE BEEF
  1. 1 1/2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1 inch pieces
  2. 1/3 cup coconut milk
  3. 1 tablespoon garam masala
  4. 2 tablespoons tandoori masala
  5. 1 tablespoon ginger root, grated
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced
  7. 1 teaspoon
  8. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  9. 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
  10. 1 teaspoon kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – if not available, use 1 tablespoon minced celery leaves
  11. salt and pepper
FOR THE SAUCE
  1. 1/4 cup or butter, plus 2 tablespoons for sauteeing onions
  2. 1 medium onion, minced
  3. 2 tablespoons ginger root, grated
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1/3 cup cashew butter
  6. 1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  7. 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  8. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  10. 1 teaspoon kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – see note, or 1tablespoon minced celery leaves
  11. 1 tablespoon raw honey
  12. 1 cup coconut milk, or more depending on how thick you like your sauce
  13. 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
FOR GREEN BEANS
  1. 1 lb. green beans, steamed
  2. 1 tablespoon ghee or butter
  3. 1/4 cup cashews, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl large enough to hold the meat, add coconut milk and remaining ingredients, except the meat. Stir to combine thoroughly. Add meat and combine.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet spread meat mixture evenly in one layer, leaving a bit of room between each piece. Roast the meat for 30 minutes.
  3. While the meat is cooking, prepare the sauce. In Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons ghee and saute onion over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until translucent and soft. Add the grated ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the cashew butter and stir until melted. Add tomatoes, spices and honey. Stir to combine and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add cooked beef to sauce and stir. Add coconut milk in small amounts until desired consistency is reached. Add ghee. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. While sauce is simmering steam green beans until tender, add butter and chopped cashews. Serve beef with sauce and green beans, garnished with cilantro.
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