We’ve done channa and aloo (chickpeas and potato) fully vegetarian, with added flavor by adding chicken to the mix and in this recipe we’ll follow the same technique for cooking this tasty curry dish, but we’ll add another unique flavor and texture by starting with a curry beef base. As we’ve discussed in previous posts using chickpeas / garbanzo beans are commonly known as channa in the Southern Caribbean, where there’s a stronger East Indian influence.
3/4 lbs stewing beef (cubed)
2 cups water
1 can chickpeas (rinsed/drained)
2 tablespoon curry powder
1 heaping tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ketchup
2 scallions (green onions – green part)
2 large potatoes
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garam masalla
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper (to your liking)
Notes: you can use a small onion and 4 cloves of garlic if you don’t have the shallot. And finish up with shado beni or cilantro instead of the scallions as I did.
Start by seasoning the beef with the salt, black pepper, tomato, Scotch bonnet (no seeds or white membrane surrounding the seeds as that’s where the real fire is), green seasoning, garam masalla (optional) and ketchup. Yes, KETCHUP.. the acidity and sweetness works well in the marinade. Mix and allow to marinate for a couple hours in the fridge.
Heat the veg oil on a medium flame and add the shallot.. turn the heat down to low and cook gently for 3-4 minutes. Then add the curry powder (your fav – I used a Madras blend out of the Caribbean). heat still on low.. toast the curry to release all the flavors of the spices which make up the curry mix.
It will go darker, grainy and your kitchen should have that lovely aroma of curry. This step allows for the curry to cook of any ‘raw’ taste and create a wonderful flavor base for the dish. After 4-5 five mins on low, turn the heat up to high and start adding the marinated pieces of beef. Yes, it’s fine if the marinade goes into the pot as well. In the same bowl you marinated the beef, pour in the water and move it around to pick up all the goodness left behind – hang on to this.
After you’ve mixed it well and deglaze the bottom of the pan with the seasoned beef, place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil. It will release it’s own juices. Then reduce to a simmer (lid slightly ajar) and cook for 12-15 minutes.
It’s now time to intensify the ‘curry’ flavor by infusing it into the beef. So turn up the heat and burn off all the liquid (lid off). You should be able to see the veg oil you started with at the bottom of the pan.
Now add the cubed potato (fairly large pieces), the drained and rinsed canned chickpeas and stir well. Heat still on high, now add the water we had in the bowl we marinated the beef in. Bring to a boil.
Stir well, place the lid on the pot and reduce to a simmer (when it comes to a boil) and let it cook until the pieces of beef are fork tender – about 1 hour. Then remove the lid, crank up the heat so you can get the gravy to the desired thickness you like. To help thicken things you can crush some of the chickpeas and potato with the back of your spoon. Remember to taste for salt and adjust according and do keep in mind that as it cools it will thicken naturally a bit.
Garnish with chopped scallion.. cilantro or shado beni (culantro) is much better for garnishing, but I was completely out of it. This is awesome served with hot roti, rice or any of your fav flat breads and/or rice.