Asian flavours are often associated with stir-fries, but as this delicious meal shows, they can be used to good effect in a hearty braise. Lemon grass, star anise and cinnamon add an exotic edge to braised beef. Serve with steamed rice or noodles.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a cleaver
2 lemon grass stalks, white part only, bruised
1 kg lean beef stewing steak, cut into 3–4 cm cubes
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 cups (500 ml) diluted salt-reduced or homemade beef stock
1½ cups (375 ml) water
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1½ tablespoons sugar
2½ tablespoons ground bean sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 cm thick chunks
2 spring onions, cut into 2 cm lengths
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Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and cook the onion, garlic and lemon grass for 2 minutes or until the onion is softened and the ingredients are aromatic.
Increase the heat to high and add the beef, stirring well to brown slightly. Add the curry powder and toss for a further 1 minute. Add the stock, water, star anise, cinnamon stick, sugar, bean sauce and tomato paste. Bring this to the boil, then cook over a low heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 1½ hours or until the meat is tender.
Add the carrots to the casserole dish and cook for a further 30 minutes. The meat should be very tender at this stage. Just before serving, toss in the spring onion lengths.
EACH SERVING (6)
1 portions vegetables
Ground bean sauce (sometimes labelled ground bean paste) is available in the Asian section of some supermarkets, or in Asian food stores.