Curry Beef Brisket (咖哩牛腩)

Curry Beef Brisket (咖哩牛腩)
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Here's another dish I grew up eating in Hong Kong - Curry Beef Brisket (咖哩牛腩). It's also one of my favorite home-cooked meals of my mom's cooking. When you order it from a Cha Chaan Teng, it's usually served on a bed of jasmine rice, and that particular style would be categorized as a Dip Tao Fan (碟頭飯) meaning rice dishes/plates. Like many other kinds of curry, the flavor of this curry beef brisket dish is rich and intense, and all made possible with a TON of spices!

I couldn't find much information on when curry was introduced to Hong Kong or how it became such a common dish. A typical Hong Kong-style curry uses Indian curry instead of Thai or Japanese curry, and it's usually served with big chunks of carrot, onion, and potato. It's super easy to make with just a few steps (seriously, a monkey can do it). I ended up over-buying (again) at the store, and now I'm all stocked up on curry! I got a small can of Thai red curry paste which I love, and wanted to try this Yeo's Malaysian curry powder at some point (Yeo's is actually a Singaporean brand). And for this curry beef brisket dish, I got a can of coconut milk, and a jar of Amoy'sChu Hou sauce (柱侯醬) which is made out of soybeans, garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds.

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Then, I got THIS. A jar of Pyramid's Madras curry paste which is packed with a truckload of spices, like chili powder, cinnamon, tumeric, coriander, cumin, cloves, garlic, and ginger. "Madras Curry" was said to be originated in South India but the term was invented by the British, and actually isn't used in India. It got its name from the city of Madras which is now Chennai. "Madras" is simply a spicy sauce created to use for meat, and it's used in Indian restaurant in Britain. A jar will last you for a while since you only need to use 1-2 tablespoons of it per pound of meat.

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Beside the meat, what I love about curry beef brisket is the potato. The key for making a successful curry beef brisket dish is how the potatoes are prepared. What you want is the chunk of potatoes to stay in shapes while they're being slow-cooked in the sauce later on. In other words, you don't want them to "melt" and turn the whole dish into mush. SO, what do you do? You fry the potatoes which will create a thicker "skin" on the outside. But instead of using a ton of oil, I just pan-fried them on my cast iron.

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After that, sear the meat until the outside is golden-brown.

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Transfer the beef brisket to a new pan, and add Chu Hou sauce and curry paste.

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Add a cup of water and two bay leaves, and let it cook for a few minutes until it starts to boil. Then turn the heat to low, and add onion, carrot, potatoes, and give it a big stir.

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Let it cook for one hour, and stir occasionally (coconut milk will be added at the end to finish off the dish).

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Curry Beef Brisket (咖哩牛腩)

Prep time: 30 mins  Cook time: 1 hour  Total time: 1 hour 30 mins

Serves: 2

You'll need:

  • 1 lb beef brisket, cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup carrot, cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup onion, cut into small chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Chu Hou sauce (柱侯醬)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Madras curry paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 coconut milk (more coconut milk can be added to create a milder taste)

Approach:

  1. Start by chopping the carrot, onion, potatoes, and the beef into small chunks.
  2. Pan-fry the potatoes on all sides until they're brown and crispy on the outside, about 10 minutes.
  3. Sear the meat until golden-brown, about 6 minutes.
  4. Transfer the beef brisket to a new pan, and add <em>Chu Hou</em> sauce and curry paste.
  5. Then, add one cup of water and two bay leaves, and let it cook for a few minutes until it starts to boil. Then turn the heat to low, and add onion, carrot, potatoes, and give it a big stir.
  6. Let it cook for one hour, and stir occasionally.
  7. Finish off the dish by adding coconut milk 15 minutes before serving. Make sure coconut milk is well-mixed into the dish.
  8. Serve immediately with a side of jasmine rice.