Updated: Apr 30, 2020
When I was about 18, I was too cool to be seen out with my mum and dad. Except, for when it came to dining at the Ceylon Hut Curry Restaurant.
Maybe it was the fact that dad was paying, or maybe it was the delicious curry, either way, the Ceylon Hut became a favourite haunt that we would regularly frequent, share the stories from our day and just generally connect as a family. We would all meet there after work and converge on the little basement restaurant, we would be greeted by name and seated at a dated 60s style table. There would be the complimentary condiments of papadums and chilli pastes on the table, dad would order a beer, mum a wine and me a mango lassi to soothe the heat of the curry in my mouth. It would be customary that we would all order a different curry, just so that we could have a taste from each other’s plates.
On tonight’s menu, the second curry in the Ceylon Hut series, is Harak Mas, which translated means Beef Vindaloo. Slightly different to the Chicken Vindaloo, this was my dad’s favourite curry to order. He would ask for it extra hot. So hot it would bring tears to my eyes. This recipe is not like that, so they must have added a heap of extra chilli to his order! Please enjoy.
1/4 cup oil 1 large onion, diced 1 large tomato, diced 1/4 cup parsley, chopped 1 tsp fresh garlic 1 tsp fresh ginger 1 tsp fenugreek seeds 4 whole cloves 1 stick dried lemongrass 1 stick pandan leaves 1 kg beef, diced 3 tbs Ceylon Hut Curry Powder 1 tsp chilli powder Juice of 1 lemon 1/2 tsp poppy seeds 4 cardamom pods, squashed 3 beef stock cubes 1/2 cup tomato paste 3 cups water Salt to taste
In a large saucepan, heat oil, fry onion, tomato, parsley, ginger, garlic, fenugreek seeds, cloves, lemongrass and pandan leaves until fenugreek seeds begin to pop.
Add diced beef and fry lightly until well coated.
Add curry powder, chilli powder, lemon juice, poppy seeds, cardamom pods, salt, stock cubes and tomato paste to the mixture.
Finally add the water and cover with a lid. Cook on low heat for another 30 minutes to 1 hour or until beef is tender and gravy thickens.
Serves 4 Keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.
A note from Gracious Goodness :
Although the ingredient list looks extensive, all the spices are easily and cheaply found at an Indian or asian grocer, often in generous packet sizes. I would highly recommend that you wait till you can visit one of these grocers before purchasing the spices otherwise you will spend a fortune at the supermarket on small quantities. Once you have the spices, it is quick and easy to whip up all manner of Indian dishes that will rival your local Indian take away.
I regularly substitute 3 cups of beef broth for the 3 beef stock cubes and 3 cups of water. If using homemade beef broth you may need to add some additional salt to the recipe. If using commercial liquid beef stock it is normally salty enough to substitute with no additional salt needed.
If you find that you’ve made the sauce too salty, don’t forget the old trick of adding a peeled, diced potato to the sauce whilst it is simmering. The potato will absorb some of the excess salt and has the added bonus of extending the portion sizes of your sauce… also handy if you suddenly have more dinner guests than you were expecting! So whilst not completely traditional harak mas, the sauce has more than enough oomph to cope with some potato and it adds some nice body to the sauce. Why did I feel the need to write this suggestion… because just recently I made mine too salty of course! I added 3 tbs of homemade beef stock concentrate forgetting that my homemade goodness is 1 tbs per 500ml not 250ml like the commercial stock cubes!