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Wednesday, December 8, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Recipe: Vijay Niles' Sri Lankan Beef Curry

Makes 4 servings

- 3 pounds chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into small chunks
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- Fresh gingerroot (a quarter-sized slice)
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric, divided
- 5 green cardamom pods, lightly smashed
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/8 teaspoon black mustard seed
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seed
- ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seed
- 6 fresh curry leaves
- 2 fresh Thai (bird) chilies
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 large tomato, diced
- ½ fresh lime, juiced
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Hot cooked rice

1. Prepare beef and set aside. Using a blender or food processor, pulse garlic and ginger until you have a rough paste. In a large bowl, mix the paste with ½ teaspoon turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon and ½ teaspoon salt. Add beef, mixing until thoroughly coated.

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-low heat then add mustard, fennel and fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and chilies. When leaves begin to puff, add onion and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

3. Add beef to onion mixture, stirring well. Then add enough water to just cover and cook over high heat for five minutes. Lower heat to medium-low and cook 30 minutes more. Strain water from the meat, reserving the broth.

4. Add coriander, chili powder, curry powder, ¼ teaspoon turmeric and ½ teaspoon salt to cooked beef and mix thoroughly. Add tomato and cook over low heat, covered, for 10 minutes.

5. Add reserved meat broth to the pot and cook, covered, for about 40 minutes or until the curry sauce has reduced and thickened substantially. Uncover the pot toward the end of the cooking time. Stir in lime juice, then milk. Serve over rice.

Note: Spices used in this recipe are readily available at local Indian markets. The whole spices can be removed before serving if desired.

From Vijay Niles.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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