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Best Ever Aromatic Beef Curry

The weather forecast was for rain all week but, bar a few, wet hours on Monday, the threatened storms never materialized. Friday/Saturday is meant to be a washout - if the fumbling weatherman is to be believed - but you won't care as you'll be tucked up inside enjoying this aromatic, winter-warming, beef curry. This is an adaptation of my favorite-ever, beef curry made even easier with fewer ingredients and simpler steps. With both our best quality goulash, Meme Helene beef stock cubes, and Wellington's Hot & Mild Chutney currently on sale - or grab Meatland's always flavorful, homemade chutney - there's never been a better time to try this. Will the promised rain 'curry up' already? We have crops to water and a sure-to-be-a-new-favorite curry to enjoy.

2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil 2 large onions, sliced 2 green apples, peeled and diced 1 teaspoon crushed garlic 2 - 3 tablespoons Ashoka curry paste (See notes) 750 grams goulash, cubed 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt 1/4 cup (60 ml) mild /hot chutney 2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar/brown vinegar 1 tablespoon (30 ml) brown sugar 1 can tomato sauce (similar to Hunts) 1 cup (250 ml) beef stock 2 bay leaves 1/2 cup (125 ml) ground coconut Coconut milk/coconut cream (optional) Coriander leaves to garnish (optional)

1: Heat the oil and fry the onions, garlic, and apples for a few minutes till soft, then add the curry paste and beef and fry till meat is browned.

2 Add remaining ingredients, apart from the coconut milk/ coconut cream, spoon into a large baking dish, and cook covered at 160 C for 1 1/2 hours.

3: Add extra stock or water if needed, and continue cooking covered for another half hour, or until meat is very tender.

4: Stir in coconut milk/coconut cream if desired - this produces a richer, more mellow gravy - and serve with Aromatic Basmatic Rice as detailed in notes. Curry keeps well and is even better made a day in advance. COOK'S NOTES: I love the convenience and superior flavor of Ashoka curry pastes with Madras my firm favorite. Available at Meatland but, if you don't have it at hand, replace the paste with 1 heaped tablespoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon turmeric. Add par-boiled potatoes to the curry while cooking if desired. I serve all curries with Aromatic Basmati Rice made by combining 2 cups basmati rice with 4 cups chicken stock, 8 cardamon pods split open, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 4 whole cloves, a grinding of coarse black pepper, and 2 bay leaves. Microwave covered for 14 minutes or until stock is absorbed - or cook on a stovetop - and then remove whole spices and mix in 1/4 cup raisins. Ingredients are all easily found at a spice shop but, if you don't have them all at hand, use whatever you have.

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