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Kerala-Style Curry

This is a fragrant curry — great with or without the heat of the chillies.
1 tablespoon each: whole cumin, mustard, fennel and fenugreek seeds
5 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
3-4 dried chillies, optional
3-4 tablespoons canola oil
3 large shallots, diced
1 teaspoon each: crushed garlic, grated root ginger
15 curry leaves
1.5kg boneless stewing beef, goat or lamb, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
400g can diced tomatoes


Place the seeds and chillies (if using) in a heavy frying pan on medium heat. Stir until slightly darker and aromatic. Pour onto a plate and cool. Grind finely with a pestle and mortar or in a small blender.
Pour the oil into a large, deep frying pan. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and pan-fry, until softened. Add the curry leaves and ground spices. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the meat and stir well so it is coated in the spices. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes.

Cover tightly and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Alternatively, cook in a 160°C oven for about 2 hours.

If there is too much liquid, remove the lid and simmer until it is reduced enough to cling to the meat. Serves 6-8.