Move over Indian Takeaway……there is a new curry on the block.  Gorgeously tender Madras beef short ribs….. literally falling off  the bone, slow cooked in a heady, spicy and aromatic sauce and topped with a cooling cucumber raita.  Seriously, just when I think food can’t get any better… does.

Prep time:  30 minutes

Cooking time:  3 Hours

$$  Medium Budget

Serves 4

Olive oil for frying

1.5kg  or 8  beef short ribs*

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

5cm piece of ginger, finely grated

1 red chilli, finely chopped (seeds removed if you like it less spicy)

1 large brown onion, halved and sliced top to bottom

11/2 tsp of turmeric

1tbs of ground coriander

1tbs of ground cumin

1 tsp of paprika

1 tsp of chilli powder (optional as this will make it pretty spicy)

3 bay leaves (fresh is best)

Juice of 1 lemon

3 tbs of tomato paste

2 cups of salt reduced beef stock

1-2 tsp of sugar (depending on taste)

1 cup of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Sea salt and cracked pepper

For the Raita:

1 Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways and deseeded

1 clove of garlic

1 cup of greek yoghurt

A handful of mint leaves, finely shredded

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Sea salt and pepper

Steamed Basmati rice and pappadums to serve

To prepare the Madras Beef, heat a large heavy based pan and add a little olive oil.  Season the beef ribs all over with salt and pepper and brown in the pan on all sides until golden.  Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.

In the same pan, add a little more oil if necessary and lightly fry the onion until soft before adding the garlic, ginger and chilli.  Fry for a minute or so until aromatic. Sprinkle over the cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika and chilli powder and stir fry for a minute.  It will stick to the pan but add the lemon juice and it will help to release the spices.  Pour in the stock, tomato paste and sugar, season well with salt and pepper and stir well to combine.  Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce to a simmer and add the bay leaves and beef ribs.  Cover the ribs with the sauce and put a tight fitting lid on the pan.  Cook on the stove top on a low heat for 21/2 hours or until the meat is meltingly tender, stirring periodically to stop it sticking.  If it looks a little thick, add a little water……

Finely slice the cucumber halves and combine in a small bowl with the yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, mint leaves and salt and pepper.  Mix well.

Now is the time to cook your pappadums and steam the rice according to packet instructions.  I use the absorption method……works every time.

Remove the lid from the Madras beef ribs and skim the top of the sauce to spoon out any excess fat.  Allow the sauce to reduce for 15 minutes.  To serve, divide the rice between four serving plates and top with the ribs and sauce.  Spoon over the raita and sprinkle over a generous amount of fresh coriander leaves.  Serve with the Poppadoms or Roti and steamed greens of your choice

*  Beef short ribs are available from butcher shops.  Ask the butcher to trim them of any excess fat……