Beef in Spicy Tomato Gravy


1 Cup Canned diced tomatoes
4   cloves garlic,minced
1 ½   T chopped fresh ginger root
1/3 cups Plain lowfat yogurt
2 T Vegetable oil
2 lbs lean beef round, cut into 1 ½  inch cubes
2 cups finely chopped onions
4   black whole cardamom pods
8 whole cloves
2 t turmeric
½ t red pepper, or to taste
1 t salt
1 ½  t ground roasted cumin seed (roast over medium heat, shaking until fragrant)
2 T chopped fresh cilantro


1.       Preheat oven to 325 F

2.       Put tomatoes, garlic, chopped ginger, and yogurt in food processor, and run the machine until the ingredients are reduced to a fine smooth puree. Set aside.

3.       Heat 1 T oil in a large frying pan over high heat until very hot. Pat dry the meat pieces and add to the pan. Brown them, turning and tossing the pieces for 3-5 minutes. (The frying pan should be large enough to accommodate the pieces in one layer without overlapping. The best way to brown them is in batches.) Transfer the meat to a heavy-bottomed casserole.

4.       Add the remaining 1 T oil to frying pan, along with the onions. Reduce heat to a medium-high, and fry until the onions turn caramel brown (about 20 minutes), stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add cardamom , cloves, turmeric, red pepper, and salt, and fry for an additional minute. Add the tomato yogurt puree, and continue frying the mixture until it reduces to a thick paste and the oil begins to separate from the paste (about 5 minutes) Turn off heat.

5.       Add this paste to the meat in the casserole. Add 3 cups of hot water to the frying pan. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to release the pieces clinging to it, and pour into the casserole. Stir the meat to distribute the spices and liquid evenly. Place the casserole over medium-high heat and bring the contents to a boil. Place a sheet of foil over the top of the casserole, and cover tightly with the lid.

6.       Bake in the middle level of the oven for 2 hours. Check and stir meat every 30 minutes to ensure it won’t burn. Turn off the oven. Let the casserole remain in the oven 15 minutes longer.

7.       Take the casserole out of the oven, check for salt, and serve sprinkled with ground roasted cumin seeds and chopped cilantro leaves.

Nutrition:  Makes 6 servings. 300 calories per serving; 11 g fat, 35 g protein, 8 g Carbs, .5 g fiber. 

So, why?                                   

  • With lean beef, tomatoes and indian spices this is a healthy way to eat beef – that is, with loads of antioxidants.


  • Serve over brown rice to add fiber content.   Serve with a side salad.
  • Will consider experimenting with additional vegetables – not authentic but more nutritional – I’m thinking to add bell peppers with the onions and/or maybe add peas near the end.

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