Beef Bhuna Curry

As a family we love eating bhuna curries. The term bhuna, as I understand it, basically means a curry with a thick gravy, some people like it almost dry, but the consistency can vary depending on your personal preference. We love our bhuna curries with a thick but saucy gravy, loose enough to be able to mop up with some delicious rice flour dumplings, aka soi fita. This Beef Bhuna Curry is also great with a flatbread, like chapatis, and is equally as good with a plain rice dish, like this Jeera Rice.

The most memorable time I ate a Beef Bhuna Curry was in Bangladesh back in 2011, we spent a few months there and celebrated Eid Ul Fitr and Eid Ul Adha too. The curry was mouthwatering (my mouth is actually watering recalling how tasty it was, lol), we enjoyed it as part of Eid Ul Adha celebrations during the morning when it was served with Soi Fita. The beef was melt in the mouth tender and so, so good! I would love to visit Bangladesh again just for the food, In shaa Allah soon!

Beef isn’t as common as lamb or mutton here in the UK, at least that’s what I have noticed from my own experience, which is perhaps why beef is reserved and cooked for special occasions such as Eid. Personally I do prefer the taste and texture of lamb/mutton over beef, but every now and again it makes a nice change. It is important to cook beef slowly over a long period of time to make the meat tender, slow cooking beef gives the best results. However, if you own a pressure cooker you can cut down on the cooking time and simply pressure cook the beef in half the time, which was what I did.

Beef isn’t something that I cook very often, in fact I usually eat beef when I’m visiting my second eldest brother’s house, he hates lamb, won’t touch a lamb curry, but IS partial to a bit of beef! We always laugh at some of his odd preferences, I mean lamb and beef are fairly similar in texture, (I should point out that he does eat lamb mince though, lol, strange right?) but he is just the way he is. It is through my brother’s keenness for beef that I have acquired a fondness for it too.

I love to try out different cooking methods when it comes to cooking certain dishes and this recipe was tested with two methods to see which gave the best results after doing some online research. I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

In the first instance I cooked this dish how I normally cook a lamb curry, using the method I use for my Classic Lamb And Potato Curry. This method involves adding all the ingredients except the oil and spices to the saucepan and cooking everything till reduced, then adding the final ingredients and bringing to a boil.

In the second instance the onions are sauteed and browned in oil over a high heat, the beef is then added and browned on the outside too and lastly the salt and spices are added before bringing to a boil one last time. This method is more time consuming than the first but the results are definitely worth the overall finished taste of the dish, so this is the method I’m sharing with you all today.

To this recipe I haven’t added any additional flavours but you can easily tweak it to give you a variety of tastes. Try adding (S)hatkora (known as citrus macroptera) to give the dish a unique Sylheti twist (Sylhetis are people who originate from the Sylhet district, which is where my family is originally from). Alternatively add one to two tablespoons of mango pickle to turn it into a tart curry with an achari (pickled) twist.

I’m hoping that this recipe delivers in terms of taste and authenticity!

Serves – 6

You will need: for Beef Bhuna Curry

3 medium sized onions
100ml of oil
4 cardamom
3 – 4 bay leaves
3 cinnamon sticks
pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
2 tomatoes
1kg beef (washed and drained)
1.5 tsp minced ginger
1.5 tsp minced garlic
1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp mixed curry powder (I used TRS Hot Madras Curry powder)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (this is used to give the dish a better colour, not essential)
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
water as required
fresh coriander and julienne ginger slices to garnish

Method:

Start by washing and draining 1kg of beef, this should already be cut to size by your butcher. If the beef pieces are too large you may want to cut them into smaller pieces.

Next peel and slice 3 medium sized onions.

In a saucepan, gently heat 100ml of oil.

Once the oil is hot, add in the whole spices – 4 cardamoms, 3 – 4 bay leaves (mine were cut in half so that’s why it looks like there are more), 3 cinnamon sticks and a pinch of fenugreek seeds and fry until the aromas are released.

Next add in the sliced onions and allow them to brown over a high heat, this will take between 10 – 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to stop them from burning.

While the onions brown, chop 2 tomatoes into quarters.

After 10 – 15 minutes, the onions should look golden brown (top right photo).

After browning the onions, the beef can be added along with 1.5 tsp of minced ginger and 1.5 tsp of minced garlic.

Fry the beef over a high heat till the pieces are brown on the outside (bottom left photo), again this can take up to 10 minutes. Browning the onion and beef before adding salt adds a lot of flavour to the finished dish.

Once the beef pieces are brown on the outside add 1.5 tsp of salt (this can be adjusted later if needed)…

….followed by 2 tsp of mixed curry powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander powder and 1 tsp cumin powder.

I forgot to add 1 tsp of turmeric powder (yes it happens, lol) but remembered in the next few steps. You may add 1 tsp of turmeric powder now.

Mix the spices well and then add the chopped tomatoes.

Cover the saucepan and allow the spices and tomatoes to cook over a low – medium flame, till the tomatoes are soft and mushy. At this point I realised that I forgot the turmeric powder so added 1 teaspoon (top right photo), do not add now if you have already added it.

Mix the ingredients again and gently cook the beef over a slow simmer for about 1 – 1.5 hours, until the beef is tender. Depending on how large or small your beef pieces are you may need to adjust these times.

When the curry begins to look dry, add water to loosen it and stop it from burning. Avoid adding too much water in one go, top up as needed.

Since I wanted to speed up the cooking process, I transferred the curry to a pressure cooker and pressure cooked it for 30 minutes, I added extra water to ensure that at no point the pressure cooker would go dry. This reduced the time it took for my beef to become tender.

Please read the manufacturer’s instructions properly for your own model of pressure cooker to ensure that you use your cooker safely.

After pressure cooking the curry, I transferred it back to the original saucepan and finished the dish off.

Any masala that remains in the pressure cooker should be rinsed out with water and added back into the curry (top left photo), after all this is flavour we don’t want to go to waste!

Once the beef is tender, add some extra water to loosen the curry and bring to a boil one last time. How much water you add will be down to your preference – I prefer to keep the gravy quite thick so just enough water to partially submerge the ingredients is enough for me, add more water if you prefer the gravy thinner.

Boil for 7 – 10 minutes and then your curry is done!

Beef Bhuna Curry

Garnish your curry with fresh coriander and ginger julienne. Serve immediately with either sides of your choice.

Bon Appetit!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Beef Bhuna Curry
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3 medium sized onions
  • 100ml of oil
  • 4 cardamom
  • 3 - 4 bay leaves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1kg beef (washed and drained)
  • 1.5 tsp minced ginger
  • 1.5 tsp minced garlic
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mixed curry powder (I used TRS Hot Madras Curry powder)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (this is used to give the dish a better colour, not essential)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • water as required
  • fresh coriander and julienne ginger slices to garnish
Method
  1. Start by washing and draining 1kg of beef, this should already be cut to size by your butcher. If the beef pieces are too large you may want to cut them into smaller pieces.
  2. Next peel and slice 3 medium sized onions.
  3. In a saucepan, gently heat 100ml of oil.
  4. Once the oil is hot, add in the whole spices - 4 cardamoms, 3 - 4 bay leaves (mine were cut in half so that's why it looks like there are more), 3 cinnamon sticks and a pinch of fenugreek seeds and fry until the aromas are released.
  5. Next add in the sliced onions and allow them to brown over a high heat, this will take between 10 - 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to stop them from burning.
  6. While the onions brown, chop 2 tomatoes into quarters.
  7. After 10 - 15 minutes, the onions should look golden brown (top right photo).
  8. After browning the onions, the beef can be added along with 1.5 tsp of minced ginger and 1.5 tsp of minced garlic.
  9. Fry the beef over a high heat till the pieces are brown on the outside (bottom left photo), again this can take up to 10 minutes. Browning the onion and beef before adding salt adds a lot of flavour to the finished dish.
  10. Once the beef pieces are brown on the outside add 1.5 tsp of salt (this can be adjusted later if needed)...
  11. followed by 2 tsp of mixed curry powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander powder and 1 tsp cumin powder.
  12. I forgot to add 1 tsp of turmeric powder (yes it happens, lol) but remembered in the next few steps. You may add 1 tsp of turmeric powder now.
  13. Mix the spices well and then add the chopped tomatoes.
  14. Cover the saucepan and allow the spices and tomatoes to cook over a low - medium flame, till the tomatoes are soft and mushy. At this point I realised that I forgot the turmeric powder so added 1 teaspoon (top right photo), do not add now if you have already added it.
  15. Mix the ingredients again and gently cook the beef over a slow simmer for about 1 - 1.5 hours, until the beef is tender. Depending on how large or small your beef pieces are you may need to adjust these times.
  16. When the curry begins to look dry, add water to loosen it and stop it from burning. Avoid adding too much water in one go, top up as needed.
  17. Since I wanted to speed up the cooking process, I transferred the curry to a pressure cooker and pressure cooked it for 30 minutes, I added extra water to ensure that at no point the pressure cooker would go dry. This reduced the time it took for my beef to become tender.
  18. Please read the manufacturer's instructions properly for your own model of pressure cooker to ensure that you use your cooker safely.
  19. After pressure cooking the curry, I transferred it back to the original saucepan and finished the dish off.
  20. Any masala that remains in the pressure cooker should be rinsed out with water and added back into the curry (top left photo), after all this is flavour we don't want to go to waste!
  21. Once the beef is tender, add some extra water to loosen the curry and bring to a boil one last time. How much water you add will be down to your preference - I prefer to keep the gravy quite thick so just enough water to partially submerge the ingredients is enough for me, add more water if you prefer the gravy thinner.
  22. Boil for 7 - 10 minutes and then your curry is done!
  23. Garnish your curry with fresh coriander and ginger julienne. Serve immediately with sides of your choice.

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Comments 14

  1. Leena
    Reply

    Hi afelia,

    Would I be able to cook lamb the same way rather than beef?

    Thank you x

    6 October, 2017
    • afelia’s kitchen
      Reply

      Yes of course. 🙂 x

      7 October, 2017
      • Leena
        Reply

        Thanks hun…gona try this tomorrow!!!…with lamb

        10 October, 2017
  2. Lola
    Reply

    I cooked this curry last night and it was truly scrumptious, the best curry I’ve made at home! Thank you for this easy to follow recipe, I’ll be attempting the homemade doner kebabs tonight!

    3 October, 2017
  3. Moriom Rumi
    Reply

    I prefer using this recipe to cook the lamb. Smelled amazing and tastes really good. Thanks

    13 September, 2017
    • afelia’s kitchen
      Reply

      Great! You’re welcome. x

      18 September, 2017
  4. Rahima
    Reply

    Just made this dish but with mutton chops, came out delish! Even my husband complimented which is a ?. My in laws don’t usually let me make meat curry because they make it different but I’m not going to take no for answer now! Thank you so much, love your recipes and will be making Eid food with your recipes too!

    30 August, 2017
    • afelia’s kitchen
      Reply

      That’s fantastic, it’s great that you used your initiative to try cooking this with mutton, great thinking! 😀 xx

      11 September, 2017
  5. Aysha begum
    Reply

    First time I’m cooking this curry, it came out yummy! Thank you so much ?

    2 August, 2017
    • afelia’s kitchen
      Reply

      Thanks for trying out the recipe, glad you found it yummy! 🙂 x

      29 August, 2017
  6. SB
    Reply

    I have cook beef Bhuna Curry today for first time and I’m surprised I have done it. It very tasty.
    Very easy to follow recipe.
    Thank you.

    29 June, 2017
    • afelia’s kitchen
      Reply

      You’re welcome, so happy you enjoyed it. 🙂 x

      1 August, 2017
  7. Raju
    Reply

    The best Beef Bhuna Curry I’ve ever had, very easy to follow. Thank You for the recipe

    28 June, 2017
    • afelia’s kitchen
      Reply

      You’re welcome, hope you try out some more of my recipes. 🙂

      1 August, 2017

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