Slow Cooker Beef Madras Curry – chunks of tender beef in a spicy, aromatic Madras sauce. Guaranteed to become your favourite Friday night curry.
We love a curry night and judging from the popularity of Easy Bombay Potatoes recipe on my blog, it seems a lot of other people do too.
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I’m sharing our family favourite Slow Cooker Beef Madras today. In our opinion it’s the best Beef Madras Curry, you’ll have to let me know if you agree.
The crock pot is ideal for a beef curry as it’s long, slow cooking results in melt in your mouth beef and a rich spicy sauce. Another big crock pot bonus is that it can be left unattended all day to cook while you get on with other parts of your life, be it chores, going for a long walk, going to work or whatever else. Probably the best bit is coming back to a home filled with the aroma of fragrant Indian spices and a meal ready to eat.
WHAT IS MADRAS CURRY ?
Traditionally a Madras is a hot curry but not too hot that you can’t taste the layers of flavour from the spices. It’s typically a redder sauce than a regular curry sauce, similar to but darker than the colour of Tandoori Chicken. The natural colour comes from the chilli, tamarind and tomatoes.
I don’t know about you but I don’t enjoy a curry that makes your eyes sweat and all you can taste is chilli. Our Beef Madras Curry really delivers on flavour with a warming heat that won’t blow your socks off. Madras spices, the sourness of Tamarind paste and the sweetness of tomatoes combine to give that unami flavour which makes a dish special.
WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE SLOW COOKER BEEF MADRAS ?
MADRAS CURRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS
Onions, garlic, chillies and fresh ginger are the base for the curry.
We love to toast and grind whole spices to add to Slow Cooker Beef Madras for a more authentic taste.
Luckily you can find an array of Indian spices in most supermarkets these days so you shouldn’t find it too difficult to source your spices. That said, I find I’m buying a lot of ingredients online because of the wide choice and convenience of home delivery.
However, if you struggle to source your spices or you don’t want to buy jars of spice just to make this curry, you can add 2 teaspoons of Garam Masala instead.
Tamarind is what gives a Madras its classic tart, almost tangy note.
The fruit of the Tamarind tree and is widely used in African and Asian cooking. You can buy Tamarind pulp but I find it easier to use Tamarind paste which is more widely available in supermarkets, grocery stores or online.
You’ll find that Tamarind is the main ingredient in OH’s favourite sauce (“HP Sauce” – a British ketchup) which he loves on bacon butties !
If you can’t find Tamarind paste where you live you can use lemon juice instead. Alternatively, you could use Madras Curry Paste instead of Madras Curry Powder as it contains some Tamarind paste.
I’ve used passata / sieved tomatoes in this recipe. Added to the homemade onion, garlic, chilli and fresh ginger puree and dry spices it makes the Best Madras Curry Sauce.
WHAT’S THE BEST CUT OF BEEF FOR A MADRAS CURRY?
You’ll be pleased to know the secret to the best slow cooker Beef Madras is to buy inexpensive cuts of beef. Long slow cooking turns tough cuts from well used muscles into forkfuls of tender fall apart beef.
On the other hand, if you use a tender cut of beef your beef curry can end up being tough and chewy.
CAN I USE CHICKEN OR LAMB INSTEAD?
Yes. The Madras Curry Sauce in this recipe makes a delicious Chicken or Lamb Madras.
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN MADRAS
You can use chicken breast or boneless thighs cut into chunks.
Follow the recipe substituting chicken for beef and cook on low for four hours or two hours on high.
SLOW COOKER LAMB MADRAS
Use the cut of lamb you would use in a stew such as middle neck/neck or boned and diced shoulder.
Substitute lamb for beef and follow the recipe as directed, cooking times are the same as for beef.
HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER BEEF MADRAS
It only takes about 15 minutes to get your Slow Cooker Beef Madras (including prepping the veg) into the slow cooker so you can set and forget it for the rest of the day.
Toast and grind whole spices.
Use a microwave to cook the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger puree.
It’s so much quicker and easier this way, the onion is softened beautifully and all you have to do is whizz it up with a stick blender.
Brown the beef.
It really is worth browning the beef in a frying pan before you add it to the slow cooker. The process caramelises the beef and seals in the flavour.
Cook the spices and pastes together for a few minutes before adding to the slow cooker.
That’s it, all you have to do now is leave the slow cooker to work its magic !
CAN I PUT RAW BEEF IN THE SLOW COOKER ?
Yes, you can. Skip Steps 3 and 4 if you’re really pushed for time and just add the ingredients into the slow cooker instead. However, I do find that you don’t quite get the same depth flavour from the spices or the beef.
WHAT TO EAT WITH SLOW COOKER BEEF MADRAS
CAN SLOW COOKER BEEF MADRAS BE REHEATED?
Yes, Beef Madras can be made ahead, cooled and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat in a pan on the stovetop on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
CAN SLOW COOKER BEEF MADRAS BE FROZEN?
Slow Cooker Beef Madras freezes well.
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Slow Cooker Beef Madras Curry
- Slow Cooker
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 onions, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 chilli, sliced Optional
- 3 tsp grated ginger
- 1 Kg beef chunks – Chuck Steak or Stewing Steak
- 3 tbsp Madras curry powder Or Madras curry paste
- 1 tbsp Tamarind paste Or lemon juice
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 500 ml passata or sieved tomatoes
- 500 ml Water
- A handful fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 chilli, finely sliced
- Grease or spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Toast whole spices in a large frying pan on a low heat until they smell fragrant – be careful not to burn your spices. Grind your toasted spices to a powder.
- Cook the diced onion with 2 tablespoons of oil in a covered jug or bowl in the microwave on full power for 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, chilli and ginger to the cooked onions and cook for a further minute on full power.
- Whizz up the onion mixture with a stick blender to a smooth puree.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in your large frying pan and add the beef chunks – brown well before transferring to the slow cooker. (You may have to do this in batches)
- Return the frying pan to a gentle heat. Add the freshly ground spices, Madras Powder or Paste, Tamarind paste, tomato puree, salt and pepper and then cook for 2 minutes.
- Add in the onion, garlic and chilli puree, passata and water and turn up the heat, stirring constantly.
- Bring to a gentle simmer before tranferring your Madras Sauce to the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours (low setting is best)
- Serve with fresh coriander, sliced chillies and rice.