My dad has an artisan’s hand in making curries. It is not everyday that you come across a meat curry which is immersed with the full goodness of the melted fat from the beef and tendons. Spiced up with the goodness of the perfectly blended spices of onion, chillies, ginger, garlic and curry leaves and topped off with starchy, hearty potatoes.
Full recipe has been withheld at request (Must be another family secret to curries…dotz.) : No worries I will one day try to recreate it with my own hand. One day.
However as much as the rempah goes, ultimately the beef used is also important.
To my experience in handling meats, you can go two ways with the choice of beef.
- Quality cuts with the right amount of fat in the meat that give a tender texture and firm bite.
- Open beef cuts (a.k.a the parts of beef which are regarded to be “not so good” portions). I somehow always preferred to use these as while they are relatively inexpensive, simmering them in the broth over a long time will give a very good, soft texture.
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The beef curry this time round was slightly different as my mum went to Liang Court and splurged on the purchase of Red Meats from the Deli. (She fell in love with the availability of the beef tendon, imagine that!) Must be some sort of hypnotic play at work.
Beef tendon : “You know you want me….Look into my packaging.”
Mum with dazed eyes : “I will purrrrchase the tendon….tendon…tendon”
Beef tendon : “Price is not a factor…”
Mum on the phone : “Son, I’m buying beef tendon….Jackpot Jackpot….Strike 4D liao!..”
Mum : “Since Fathers’ Day is coming, must ask Daddy to cook.”
And I thought Fathers’ Day meant the Dad getting pampered, not being placed in the kitchen to whip up his specialty.
Fresh beef tendon is a rare sight at supermarkets. The one thing I like about this particular part is that it is glutinous and soft when cooked and the percentage fat in it is extremely low for a cut of beef. Having said that, it also adds a rich flavour to any beef dish, almost like the caviar on a piece of biscuit dipped with melted cheese.
Total price for this dish : Over $50 for one pot of curry inclusive of everything and manual labour. Now that’s one expensive curry but oh so yum yum.