INSTANT POT BRAISED BEEF IN CURRY
This braised curry beef (咖喱牛腩) is traditionally made with a cut of meat that is unknown to most Westerners. Known as “rough flank” or “outer flank” in English, it’s pronounced “ngau lam” in the Cantonese dialect.
Outer flank is a rough cut of meat that needs to be cooked until soft and should not be mistaken for flank steak. The cut is about an inch thick with a thin layer of silver skin on top and loads of tendony, chewy, crunchy parts that long braises have softened. This ingredient is frequently used in Chinese beef recipes and is well regarded by Chinese diners.
Braised beef rough flank is one of my favorite dishes, even though it may not sound desirable to Westerners. Brisket and pot roast fall apart when braised because the meat’s tendons become wonderfully fluid and melt in your mouth.
- 3 1/2 pounds of beef outside flank/rough flank (牛腩, can also substitute beef brisket or chuck, cut into large 2-inch cubes)
- ¼ cup of vegetable oil (plus 1 tablespoon, divided)
- 5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 5 shallots (finely chopped)
- 3 bay leaves
- ⅓ cup of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 cups of beef broth (chicken broth or water)
- 4 tsp. of sugar
- 1 tbsp. of salt (plus more to taste)
- 2 tbsp. of tomato paste
- 2 large onions (cut into wedges)
- 2 tsp. of cornstarch (dissolved in 1 tablespoon water)
- Blanching the meat will ensure that all impurities have been eliminated. Boil the water, then add the meat chunks. Drain, rinse and store in an airtight container.
- Sauté 1/4 cup of olive oil in the Instant Pot. Infuse the oil with garlic, shallots, and bay leaves. Just a few minutes in the pan. After that, include the curry powder and turmeric into the mixture. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir until well blended. To prevent the curry powder from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, you can add a little additional oil if necessary. Spices can burn if they’re overheated!
- Add the beef, broth or water, sugar, salt, and tomato paste after a minute. If using beef chuck instead of outer flank, reduce the liquid to 2/3 cup. Turn on the meat stew setting in the Instant Pot and let it cook for 45 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the onions for 1-2 minutes, until translucent. They should still have some of their crunchiness, though. Set aside for later. Use natural release to completely depressurize the Instant Pot.
- Open the Instant Pot’s lid after you’re sure it’s safe, select the sauté option. After adding the cornstarch slurry, wait a few minutes for the sauce to thicken. Adding more cornstarch slurry as needed will help thicken the curry if it is too thin for your taste. Stir in the onions after the sauce has thickened. Salt to taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve with rice as a side dish.