- Trim excess fat and any sinew from the beef and cut into 2-3cm dice.
- Finely chop the onions. Crush the garlic. Trim and deseed the chillies before finely chopping them.
- Put 50ml of the sunflower oil in a frying pan on the stove on a medium-high heat. When really hot, start to add the beef and seal all sides of each cube. Do this in batches with each batch no bigger than a single layer in the frying pan. Remove each batch when browned all over, and place in a bowl. Add another 50ml of sunflower oil when needed to continue frying the beef. When all done just place in the bowl and leave to one side.
- Meanwhile put the remaining 60ml of sunflower oil in a heavy-based pan and heat on the stove (Le Creuset casseroles are ideal for this dish). Add the curry leaves and crushed garlic. Stir and then add all the finely chopped onion. Cook over low-medium heat for 5 minutes, without browning the onion.
- Add the cardamom pods, turmeric and chopped red chillies to the onions. Continue to cook over low-medium heat for another 20 minutes or so until it is really soft.
- When the onion mixture is really cooked down, then stir in the vindaloo paste and tomato paste and cook for another minute before adding the beef stock, red wine and sea salt.
- Add the beef pieces and bring it to simmering point. The meat should be covered by the liquid. If it is not covered, then add more beef stock or water.
- Cover the pan and continue to simmer gently over a low heat for 2 hours until the meat is tender. After about 30 minutes most of the cardamom pods should be floating on the surface, so it is a good time to remove them. After 90 minutes check the liquid level, and either remove the lid if some needs to evaporate, or keep it on if it is already looking the consistency of a curry sauce.
- Serve with basmati rice and your choice of condiments - I like to serve it with small poppadums, mango chutney, lime pickle and natural yoghurt.
- This dish would work well with lamb or mutton too.
- This dish tastes even better the next day, so is a great one to make in advance. Also, any leftovers can be frozen for easy future dinners, so I always make too much on purpose!
- Cooking Basmati rice is easy with the absorption method – for 8 people bring 2 ½ cups of rice and 4 ½ cups of water to the boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat, stir, cover and simmer gently for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, still covered, and leave for 10 minutes, then serve.
- Fresh curry leaves can be difficult to find but really make the flavour of this dish, so its worth searching them out rather than using freeze-dried ones. Leftover fresh curry leaves can be frozen in a small sealed freezer bag for future use.