Its been quite sometime since I have posted a beef recipe. I have been planning to do recipes of different states of India for sometime now. Since festival season are on the go, I thought of sharing some sweet recipes of different states along with some of the popular dishes of each state. So you may catch me with varieties of dishes in the coming season.
This dish is fairly customary in the North Indian belt. I could not trace its history but I’m sure the state of Uttar Pradesh and its neighbouring states would be the crowd who goes with this recipe considering its ingredients. I’m also considering different aspects like easy and quick recipes, healthy recipes and wholesome meals.
The significance of this dish lies in its cooking process. This dish tastes best in this process. Of all the attributes of eating quality, tenderness is rated the most important factor affecting beef palatability. Slow cooked meals are generally easier to make and very cost effective using cuts of meat that improve in texture and flavor when cooked for long periods of time at low temperatures. These tough cuts of meat contain large amounts of collagen which require long cooking times to break down into a rich gelatin.
When you cook, collagen begins to melt at about 160F and turns to a rich liquid, gelatin. This gives meat a lot of flavor and a wonderful silky texture. When cooking it is important to liquify collagen. Denaturation of the collagen molecule is a kinetic process, and hence a function of both temperature and duration of heating. Cooking at low temperatures require long periods of time to liquify collagen.
Rare Meats: 120°F/50°C is the early stages of juiciness in meats as the the protein myosin, begins to coagulate . This lends each cell some solidity and the meat some firmness. As the myosin molecules bond to each other they begin to squeeze out water molecules that separated them. Water then collects around the solidifyed protein core and is squeezed out of the cell by connective tissue. At this temperature meat is considered rare and when sliced juices will break through weak spots in the connective tissue
Medium — Well Meats: Collagen shrinks as the meat tmeperature rises to 140/60 more of the protein coagulates and cells become more seggregated into a solid core and surrounding liquid as the meat gets progressively firmer and moister. At 140-150 the meat suddenly releases lots of juices, shrinks noticeably and becomes chewier as a result of collagen shrinkage. Meat served at this temperature is considered medium and begins to change from juicy to dry.
Well Done Slow Cooked Meats: Falling apart tenderness collagen turns to gelatin at 160/70. The meat gets dryer, but at 160F the connective tissues containing collagen begins to dissolve into gelatin. With time muscle fibers that had been held tightly together begin to easily spread apart. Although the fibers are still very stiff and dry the meat appears more tender since the gelatins provide succulence.
We therefore want our meat to be cooked tender where tough collagen is converted to gelatin but with a minimum loss of moisture. The reality is that these methods are contracdictory and hence the challenge or dilemma to cooking meats. To minimize moisture loss requires temperatures less than 130F, however .turning collagen into gelatin requires temperatures above 160F and for extended time periods. As moisture evaporates, the meat begins to shrink. A slab can lose 20% or more of its weight in cooking due to shrinkage. Even meat cooked in liquid will dry out although not as quickly. So we are faced with a dilemma. To liquefy the collagen we need to cook the meat to 180F and hold it there for for long periods of time. But by then it is well past well-done and the muscle fibers can be dryed out. As a result, we need to add moisture.
With ingredients which you can count on fingers, this beef chunks retain its flavor and moisture in the slow cooking process. Do try out this simple recipe with the simplest of ingredients which will be found in your pantry always. Minimum amount of fat is used in this recipe. I used a tablespoon of ghee for the whole dish, though a little more is added when done in normal way. This may be replaced with oil of your choice though I suggest you stick to my recipe as ghee gives that extra ounch cutting out the rawness of the spices and condiments.
Wash and drain the beef add to a wok. Add the rest of the ingredients given along with it and slow cook till tender and soft.
Grind all the ingredients to a smooth fine paste.
Add to the cooked beef and adjust seasoning.
Saute till it attains semi dry texture.
Garnish with fried onions, potato wafers, tomato and lime wedges.
Serve hot with rice or bread of your choice.