"I saw few die of hunger; of eating, a hundred thousand." -Ben Franklin

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tikka Masala-Inspired Coconut Beef Curry and "The Six C's"

I have nothing but positive memories of Indian food-- in fact, some of my fondest memories of high school and college are connected to Indian restaurants! Going out for Indian was a tradition in high school after speech tournaments, and it's also a tradition with my friends at Penn-- we go to Sitar for pretty much all celebrations (my friend from Penn visited me here a few weeks ago, so of course we went out for Indian!). I also love Indian restaurants because I can always find something on the menu, and I've never gotten a bad reaction reaction (i.e. "been glutened") from one either. When I first came here, I couldn't find spices at reasonable prices in Tesco or Sainsbury's (note: they're reasonably priced at Lidl, which I didn't find out until later), so I stocked up on (cheap!) Indian spices at a Middle Eastern market-- my first week in Edinburgh was spent eating ghetto versions of my favorite Indian dishes. Indian food every day? Dream come true! (Here's my recipe from last spring for butter chicken/murgh makhani.)

I could go on about how much I love Indian food all day, but instead I'm going to give you two recipes that work amazingly together: Tikka Masala-Inspired Coconut Beef Curry and "The Six C's."

The first dish is inspired by chicken tikka masala, which A) is my favorite Indian dish, and B) was allegedly created in the UK, and was even called "Britain's true national dish"! Beef is not typically used in Indian cuisine, but I had a pack of minced beef, so I decided to make beef tikka masala. Then I realized there's no one recipe for tikka masala (tikka refers to the meat or marinade, and masala just means "mixture of spices"), so I looked up a bunch and formed my own; but instead of using yogurt as a base for my curry, I went with coconut milk instead so any non-dairy eaters can enjoy this too (and I also threw in some extra coconut in general). I also didn't marinate the meat first because I used ground beef-- so this is more like a chili, I suppose; but if you use other cuts of meat, definitely make a marinade first. I wasn't totally sure what to call this recipe-- it's not beef tikka masala for the aforementioned changes and ground beef isn't typically used in curries, but it's not really chili either... But I decided to call it a curry, so here's my Tikka Masala-Inspired Coconut Beef Curry. (By the way, don't believe the "Red meat will kill you!" articles that have been everywhere lately-- that study was an example of bad science. Check out responses from Robb Wolf, Denise Minger, Gary Taubes, Chris Kresser, J. Stanton, Stanley A. Fishman, Zoe Harcombe, and Dr. Joe Leonardi.)

Ingredients for Tikka Masala-Inspired Coconut Beef Curry:
-900 g minced beef
-1 large onion, chopped
-2 tbsp. coconut oil
-1 can of stewed tomatoes
-2 tbsp. tomato paste
-1 cup full-fat coconut milk
-2 tbsp. garam masala
-3 tsp. coriander
-3 tsp. cumin
-3 tsp. paprika
-3 tsp. turmeric
-2 tbsp. ginger
-3 tbsp. garlic
-2 tsp. cayenne pepper
-2 tsp. black pepper
-2 tsp. curry powder
-2 tsp. chili powder
-3 tbsp. lemon juice
-3 tsp. cinnamon
-3 tbsp. slivered almonds (optional)
-3 tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes (optional: add more for garnish)
1. Heat coconut oil in a pot. With the heat on high, add in onions and stir frequently, then keep adding in spices and stirring until onions appear to be done.
2. Add in beef and cook until brown.
3. Add in tomatoes and stir well. Then add in coconut milk, almonds, and coconut flakes. Stir well, then bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for approximately 45 minutes.

I originally wanted to serve this over cauliflower rice, but my lack of food processor and the fact that I was using frozen cauliflower led to an epic fail. So I decided instead to do mashed cauliflower with some spices. It coincidentally turned out that all of my ingredients started with the letter "C"... So here's "The Six C's": Cumin-Coriander-Cinnamon-Curry Coconut Cauliflower!

Ingredients for "The Six C's":
-750 g cauliflower (I used frozen)
-1/2 cup coconut milk
-2 tbsp. cumin
-2 tbsp. coriander
-3 tbsp. cinnamon
-2 tbsp. curry powder
1. Boil cauliflower in a pot until soft. Drain water.
2. Mash cauliflower, slowly adding in the coconut milk. Stir and add in the spices. Keep stirring and mashing until you get the consistency that you want. (I left my cauliflower a bit chunkier, but you can certainly mash until very smooth.)

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Quote of the Day:
"This curry was like a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony that I'd once heard... especially the last movement, with everything screaming and banging 'Joy.' It stunned, it made one fear great art. My father could say nothing after the meal." -Anthony Burgess


  1. Like you, I love Indian food, so I was very happy to stumble upon your recipe (and blog) via MDA.

    I'd love to subscribe to an RSS feed of your blog (I keep track of my blogs through iGoogle).

    Do you think you'll start an RSS feed anytime soon?

  2. Oops, just saw your subscribe widget on the sidebar. (I'm used to seeing the RSS feed button up at the top in the address line...sorry for the dummy question.)

  3. It is a great and quick recipe but I have to say it is a little heavy on the spices (and I too LOVE Indian food). I would also suggest adding none of the spices to the cauliflower, just the coconut milk as it is a good compliment to the curry.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions. I made it so spice-heavy because I'm a big fan of spices... and the cauliflower also had spices because it could either be eaten alone, with a non-spicy side, or as an extra BAM! with the curry. I appreciate the comments!

  4. looks so yummy!!! the 'six C's' is very inventive. I'll definitely have to try that :)

  5. Thanks for the recipe! I found you through Mark's Daily Apple. I made it for my family and I loved it! Here's my daughter's serving:



    1. I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks for sharing the photo too. Cheers!

  6. Hmmmm so good ! It is 1 am here (I am not so good with getting myself to sleep 8 hrs yet)
    and I was cooking my lunches for the upcoming week.

    Ended up eating quite a bit of the curry as it's smell and flavours are too seducing


  7. This is a lovely recipe, but you missed an opportunity by not making it "the Seven C's!" Seriously, though, a lovely curry.

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