This delicious curry from the northwest region of India can be made with beef or lamb. The rich, complex flavor profile of this saag gosht – Punjabi beef and spinach curry – portrays the very best of Indian cuisine. You’re going to love it! Punjab, a combination of two Persian words, means “land of the five rivers.” In 1947, with the dissolution of British India, the region was divided between Pakistan and India. Punjabi cuisine is known for its diversity, including both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Some popular examples of food derived from Punjab are tandoori dishes, pakoras, naan bread, and vegetable dishes with paneer (a soft Indian cheese). Other Punjabi favorites include butter chicken and chicken tikka. Today’s dish, Punjabi beef and spinach curry, which can be made with either beef or lamb, is another Punjabi favorite.
1½ pounds beef chuck (or lamb), cut into ½ inch cubes, patted dry and sprinkled with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ghee (or butter)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon turmeric
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons plain whole fat yogurt
2 cups beef stock
5 green cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
Heat the oil and butter in a Dutch oven or heavy pot. Fry the beef until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Saute the onions for 25 minutes until caramelized. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 3 minutes. Add the spices, except for the bay leaf and cardamom pods, and saute for another minutes. Add the tomato paste and the tomatoes and deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up any of the browned bits. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the yogurt.
Add the beef cubes, beef broth, bay leaf, cardamom pods and salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach and cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste. Serve Punjabi beef and spinach curry with steamed Basmati rice.