I’ve been cooking a lot of simple food lately – roasted veggies, plain lentils, pan-fried chicken or fish, everything seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper, and lemon. It’s easy dinner on a weeknight, easy for husband and I to remix into lunch salads, and most importantly, easier to feed the kids who eat a wide variety but like boring flavor profiles.
Not that there is such a thing as kid food, but my 18-month-old is coming off a stint where he insists that he’s picky. I assure him he’s not, and explain that there are lovely foods besides bananas, and that this is just a phase, control, testing boundaries, etc. Sometimes I just get tired of cleaning up green beans that were hurled to the floor because I dared taint them with soy sauce.
But I refuse to let this baby tyrant rule our lives! I will cook something complex and rich and spicy if I want!
Hence this bhuna gosht – melt in your mouth short ribs (although you can make it with other types of meat) in a spicy yogurt curry. I referred to a couple of recipes for this, including those from Simply Reem and Chef Gulzar. My cooking method was a little different, and I also used the trick of adding a little besan to the yogurt to help stabilize it, because I am the worst about curdling it, but it’s optional.
- 4 beef short ribs on the bone (about 1 3/4 pounds)
- salt & pepper
- flavorless cooking oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
- 2 inches of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon each: red chili, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric and garam masala
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1 tablespoon besan (optional)
- for garnish, small handful cilantro and small handful mint, mixed and pretty finely chopped, and julienned ginger
Trim some of the fat from the short ribs (but you don’t have to be super thorough about it) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat about a tablespoon of oil on high, and sear the ribs on both sides. Remove to a plate.
Lower the heat to medium, and drain off the fat. Add back 1 tablespoon of the fat and 1 tablespoon oil, and saute the onions until they are soft and very golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, then add the powdered spices and a good pinch of salt, cooking and stirring for another minute. Add a splash of water and stir, scraping the bottom to make sure nothing’s stuck.
Add the ribs back into the pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours until the meat is very tender, almost falling off the bone. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt and besan, and allow to come to room temperature.
When the meat is done, uncover and turn up the heat a little and cook, stirring, until the liquid has dried up a bit (it should still be fairly wet, but thickened up some). You can smash the meat a little with a wooden spoon so it starts falling apart. Lower the heat and add in the yogurt, combining well. Adjust seasoning if necessary and cook 5-10 minutes more.
Sprinkle liberally with cilantro, mint and ginger, and serve hot with roti or naan.