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Easy Beef Curry

(recipe, Michael Romano & Karen Stabiner)

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Once a month, several of our restaurants cook family meal for both the staff and the families and staff at a nearby hospital's hospice center. The cooks at Tabla viewed those days as a particular challenge, because the food had to be flavorful enough to satisfy both their co-workers and the hospice families and staff, who craved something other than institutional cuisine but were also looking for comfort food. This curry is substantial enough to be satisfying, tasty enough to be intriguing, and special enough to convey the feelings that went into making it. It's the kind of curry a home cook can master easily without an advanced degree in Indian cuisine.


  1. 2 lb. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  2. 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  3. 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  4. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  5. 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  6. 1 Tbsp. turmeric
  7. 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  8. 1 tsp. ground allspice
  9. ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  10. ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  11. 1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, crushed with your hands, with their juices
  12. ½ cup beef stock or water
  13. Kosher salt
  14. 6 fresh cilantro sprigs, finely chopped
  15. Cooked basmati rice, for serving


  1. Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and brown for 5 to 7 minutes, turning the pieces so they brown on all sides. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and brown the second batch of beef.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Return the beef to the pot, add the tomatoes with their juices, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until the beef is tender.
  3. Add the stock, cover, and simmer for another 2 hours, until the beef is falling apart. Season the curry to taste with salt. Garnish with the cilantro and serve over rice.