Saturday, January 3, 2009

Beef Stew with Panch Foron

Panch Foron is a mix of five different whole spices. It comprises of Cumin (jeera), Nigella (kalojeera), Mustard seeds (shorshe dana), Ajwain/caraway seeds (radhuni), and Fanugreek (methi). Usually panch foron is used for adding a distinct aroma and taste to vegetable dishes and pickles (mango pickle etc). Some also use it in fish. I have tried my version of beef stew with panch foron and the result was brilliant. Panch foron comes as a mix, and you can find it in any Indian/Bengali or authentic food stores.

Servings: 4-6

  • Beef - 3 lb (1.5 kg), cut into small stew pieces
  • Onion - 1 lrg, thinly sliced
  • Salt- 1/2 tsp
  • Potatoes - 2 lrg, cubed (optional)
  • Cinnamon stick - 1.5 inch
  • Whole Cardamon - 4-5 pcs
  • Whole Cloves - 4-5 pcs
  • Bay leaf - 1, med

  • For the Marinade:
  • Panch Foron - 2 tsp
  • Salt - 1.5 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Whole pepper corns - 1 tsp
  • Plain Yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • 1. Wash and drain the beef. In a bowl mix in all the ingredients for the marinade and marinate the beef overnight in the refrigerator.
  • 2. On the day of cooking, let the beef come to room temperature for about 1/2 hour before cooking. In a non stick pot (I prefer a dutch oven) heat 2 tbsp of oil.
  • 3. Add the bay leaf, cardamons, cloves, cinnamon, pepper corns. Be careful, as they will start to pop as they infuse the oil. Add the onions and 1/2 tsp salt. Saute till the onions are nicely golden.
  • 4. Add the beef along with the marinade to the pot. Stir to combine, and 1/2 cup of hot water.
  • 5. Simmer on low-med heat for about 1.5- 2 hours, stirring occasionally for the flavours to blend. Add 1/2 - 1 cup of hot water every 15 min, to make sure there is enough juice for the beef to be cooked without burning.*
  • 6. Nearly at the end of the cooking time, check a piece of meat to make sure it is tender to pull, then add the cubed potatoes. Simmer till the potatoes are cooked through. You might need to add a bit more water when you add the potatoes, so that they will absorb all the flavours from the gravy.
  • 7. Serve with a side of garden salad and rice or flat bread.
*Do not be lazy and add a whole quart of water all at once. By adding small amount of water frequently will allow the beef stew to develop a strong and gourmet flavour which you will not achieve if you drown the beet with a lot of water at the very start.
** Some people like adding beef stock to their stew. However, my version does not require that, as it already possesses an infusion of great flavours.

1 comment:

  1. the panch phoron should really bring out the flavour. shall definitely try at the weekend.
    i make something quite similar with kalojire(nigella seeds)Tastes great......