Everyone knows how much I love a curry and I am also a huge fan of Valli Little of Delicious Magazine fame.  So when her new book came out I raced to the book shop to get hold of it before it sold out.  Her cooking style is very much like my own (actually….mine is probably more like hers) and the recipes are simple to follow, amazing to cook and she (like me) represents all corners of the globe when it comes to food.  The difference between Valli & I is that I cook my recipes once, I take the photo right before tucking in and I can honestly say that what you see is what you get.  Valli’s recipes are quite possibly cooked 3-4 times, a food stylist takes her photos, complete with professional lighting, food enhancing sprays etc etc and I am pretty sure she doesn’t devour the food every time she cooks it!  The other big difference is that I have every intention of following the recipe but when I get to the supermarket I can’t always get the ingredients so have to improvise and tweak things to suit the ingredients I can get.  This was one of those times…….there was not a curry leaf to be found, hence the replacement of basil and the addition of beans (a meal is not balanced for me without some form of green).  Thanks Valli, this was………ummmm…. delicious!!


Prep time:  30  Minutes                 Cooking time:  3 Hours              $$  Low to Medium Budget


Serves 4


2 tbs of olive oil

40gm of butter

800gm of chuck steak, cut into 3cm cubes (keep it nice and big)

1 brown onion, peeled and cut into chunks

3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

2cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

1 stalk of lemon grass, white part only, roughly chopped

1-2 long red chillies, seeds removed and roughly chopped (depending on how hot you like it)

2 tbs of ground cumin

2 tbs of ground coriander

1 tsp of chilli powder (more if you like it hot)

2 tsp of ground turmeric

2 cinnamon sticks

1 cup of beef stock

400gm can of coconut cream

1 tbs of tamarind puree

1 tbs of brown sugar

300gm of green beans, topped and sliced diagonally

1/2 a bunch of basil, leaves removed and stalks discarded

Extra coconut cream, basil leaves and steamed rice to serve


The quickest and easiest way to chop everything finely is to get the food processor out.  If you don’t have one then just chop everything really finely with your knife in a back and forth motion across your chopping board.


Preheat your oven to 160°C


Place the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and lemongrass in the food processor and blend until it resembles a paste or pesto like consistency.


Heat a large ovenproof casserole or frypan and add the oil and butter.  When the butter is melted and bubbling, brown your beef in batches until golden and caramelised.  Remove from the pan and pop on a plate.


In the same pan, add a little more oil if needed and fry the onion mixture until the onion is soft and the mixture is nice and aromatic.  Add the cumin, coriander, chilli and turmeric and fry for another minute or two before returning the beef (juices and all) back to the pan.  Pour in the stock and coconut milk, stirring to combine and then add the cinnamon sticks, tamarind and brown sugar.  Season with salt and pepper and give a final stir before bringing the curry to the boil.  Cover with a piece of baking paper, tucking it in nice and snug and then pop on a tight fitting lid.


Place in the oven for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.


After 2 hours, remove the lid and stir through the beans.  Place the lid back on and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the beans are just tender.  Remove from the oven and stir through the basil leaves.


For a nice garnish, heat a small frypan and add a little olive oil.  Fry the extra basil leaves in the oil for approximately 40 seconds, remove and place on a piece of paper towel.  Reserve the oil for drizzling, it will be infused with that delicious basil flavour.


Serve the curry with steamed rice and pappadums.  Top with a drizzle of coconut cream, the basil oil and crispy basil leaves.


This recipe would be suitable for the slow cooker.  Cook in the normal method and then pour into the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours, popping the beans in an hour before serving.