Kerala Coconut Curry Beef Stew
Hot Fluffy Rice
Iced Tea, Lemonade or Fruit Drink
Creamy, spicy Kerala-style Beef Stew is served over bowls of hot, fluffy rice. Sunburst Apricots, with a hint of citrus, contrast brilliantly with the stew. This is one of those meals that always makes people wonder how something so sophisticated from come from canned goods. By the way, if you don’t want to bother with the apricots simply serve canned peaches instead.
I use Great Value canned roast beef (in broth) for this recipe. As far as I can tell, it is free of both gluten and dairy. Canned roast beef in gravy is not gluten-free. It uses wheat to thicken the gravy. Roast beef canned in broth is not thickened, thus, no wheat or other starches.
Kerala Coconut Curry Beef Stew
Traditionally this is prepared with goat or lamb, but these are a bit challenging to find in a can at the local supermarket. I’ve substituted canned roast beef, and the results are quite tasty. My husband is especially fond of this combination.
- 2 (12-ounce) cans roast beef in broth, undrained
- 1 (13-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1 (15-ounce) can sliced carrots, drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can sliced potatoes, drained
- 1 (15-ounce) jar baby onions, drained
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons dry parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or ground red pepper
Place all of the cans in your meal box. Measure the ingredients for Bag 1 into a small zipper bag or other resealable container. Stash it in the box with the cans.
Open all of the cans. Do drain the carrots, potatoes and onions. If possible rinse the potatoes and carrots in fresh water. If that’s not possible, then don’t worry about it. Drain the juice from both cans of beef into a 3-quart saucepan. Add the contents of Bag 1. Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the beef, coconut milk, carrots, potatoes and onions. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve over rice.
While the stew is simmering you may prepare the instant rice. They should both be ready to eat at about the same time. If you are cooking regular white rice instead of instant, then prepare the rice first, before starting on the beef stew. It will be ready about the same time as the stew this way.
When I first prepared this meal my family was skeptical. I described it as coconut beef stew and, to be honest, they were faintly alarmed. To them beef stew was something prepared by Dinty Moore and served with wedges of cornbread. The idea of dumping a bunch of coconut into it and serving it over rice was less than appetizing. I begged from them a bit of grace and the results have been one of my family’s favorite storage meals. This is not simply beef stew with a bunch of coconut added. It’s a sophisticated and creamy combination of flavors that tastes like good restaurant food, not weird beef stew with coconut added. As my husband says, you can’t really taste the coconut, just the creaminess.
In my opinion, the baby onions really make this dish, so if I were going to leave something out, it wouldn’t be the onions.
If you like spicy foods then use 1/2-teaspoon of red pepper flakes. If you prefer mild fare, or are serving this to small children then use 1/8 to 1/4-teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Hot Fluffy Rice
4 cups instant white rice
32-ounces (4 cups) water
Measure the rice and place it in a zipper bag or plastic tub with a good lid. Place it in the meal box along with the bottled water.
In a 2-quart saucepan with a good lid, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice. Return the water to a boil. Cover the pot. Turn off the flame. If possible wrap the hot pot in a towel or blanket. Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes (or longer if necessary). Use as desired. Makes about 8 cups of cooked rice.
Sweet, tangy and bursting with flavor, Sunshine Apricots are the perfect foil to creamy and spicy Kerala Beef Stew.
- 1 (6 or 8 ounce) package dried apricots
- 1 tablespoon powdered Tang or Lemonade or 1 or 2 packets True Lemon or True Orange (or 1 of each)
Place the apricot package into your meal box. Measure the Tang or Lemonade mix into a small bag. Label and seal. Add this, along with the water, to your meal box.
Place the apricots in a 1-quart saucepan. Add the water and the contents of the small bag. If possible, do this early in the day and allow the apricots to soak for several hours. If you can’t do this, don’t worry. But the cooking time will be a little longer.
Bring the apricots and their flavored water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and allow them to simmer until tender. If the apricots are well soaked this will be about 5 minutes. If they are dry then it may take up to 20 minutes. You can save fuel by simmering for 5 to 10 minutes, then covering the pot and wrapping it in a towel or blanket to keep it hot. Allow them to soak in the hot water for 30 minutes to an hour.
Any leftover cooking liquid can be added to the iced tea or fruit drink that you’re serving with dinner. If you don’t want to bother with Sunshine Apricots then you can replace them with a simple can of peaches, packed in fruit juice. If desired, cut the peaches into bite-sized pieces before serving, or just serve them straight from the can. The juice from the can is especially nice added to Iced Tea.
- 2-quarts to 1-gallon of water
- Your Favorite Instant Drink Mix
Determine if you will need 2-quarts or a full gallon of water to feed your crew. Measure enough Lemonade Mix or Instant Iced Tea or even kool-aid and sugar, to make the amount you need. If you prefer something sugar free like Crystal Light, that’s fine too. Store it in a zipper bag. Label it and place it in your meal box along with everything else. Stored water has a flat flavor, so your meal will be more appealing if you flavor the water you serve.
If you store wine-in-a-box, then consider serving wine to the adults with this meal.