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Recipe: Tamarind Beef (Assam Beef)

Tamarind is the pulp from the pods of the Tamarind tree. It has a sweet, sour, fruity aroma and taste and is used as a souring agent in curries and sambals. Interestingly it is a vital ingredient in the making of Worcestershire sauce. With this recipe the use of extra chillies is optional.


454g beef (use topside or skirt)
Golf ball size tamarind pulp (soak pulp in 150-200ml of warm water and strain liquid through your fingers, discard residual pulp and retain tamarind water)
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic (or 2 of minced garlic paste)
1" ginger (or 1 tsp minced ginger)
1 medium onion (thick slices)
1 red chilli (thick slices)
1 green chilli (thick slices)
2 tsp tumeric powder
2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil

Cooking Method

Serves 2

Cut beef across the grain into slices 4cm x 2cm.

Blitz the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli.

Heat oil in a pot and saute the onion mixture until onion starts to caramalize, stirring constantly. Turn up the heat and add beef in batches in order to seal the meat.

Add tumeric powder to the pot and after 2 minutes half of the retained tamarind liquid. Cover and cook on a low heat stirring from time to time.

As the meat cooks and starts to dry out add the remaining tamarind water a little at a time.

Beef should take approximately 40 minutes to cook and the end result should be a relatively dry curry.

When beef is cooked, add the other onion and cook until onions are soft. This is the time to add more sliced red or green chillies if you like it hot!