Stews are admired and preferred all over the world because they are generally made by slow cooking thus keeping the moisture content and juices of the ingredients intact offering a sumptuous delight for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The taste and presentation of stews may vary from one continent to other depending on the ingredients used, but the method of cooking used to prepare this well-known dish is almost the same everywhere.
Be it America, India, or Iran, stews are made with lot of patience using slow-cooking techniques. Slow cooking is either achieved by preparing the dish over slow fire or in a crockpot for longer hours. Since, crockpot is an easy and practical approach; stews are, predominantly, cooked in crockpots nowadays. Crockpot gives you the pleasure of enjoying comfort food. All you need to do is to just fill it with ingredients, close the lid, set the cooking temperature and time, and let the cooker do all the hard work. It's a tremendous time-saving cooking appliance which can cook while you are away.
So, if you want to experience the appetizing aroma of a rich juicy beef stew when you come home, try this original Awadhi recipe of Mughlai beef stew made in a crockpot and add a distinct royal touch to your meal. Awadhi cuisine is a specialty of Lucknow or Awadh, (as it was known during Mughal period) an Indian city in Central South Asia. Awadh was ruled by the Mughals for decades, and the traditional food of Lucknow still carries the royal legacy of Mughlai cuisine.
- 1 pound stew meat (stew meat is the fattier trimmings from various cuts).
- 4 big onions chopped finely.
- 1 slit green chili.
- tsp. ginger paste.
- 1 tsp. garlic paste.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil (preferably mustard oil)
For the Marinade
- 1-1/2 cups of plain yoghurt.
- A pinch of red chili powder.
- A pinch of turmeric powder.
- 2 teaspoons of coriander powder.
- Salt to taste.
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 bay leaf.
- 2 cloves.
- 1 green cardamom.
- 1 black cardamom.
- inch cinnamon stick.
- 4 peppercorns.
How to Make
- Apply lemon juice and salt on the beef chunks and keep aside for 30 minutes. Mix the rest of the powdered spices of the marinade to the yoghurt. Add this to the beef, mix well, and let it marinate for about 1 hour, 3 to 4 hours if you have ample time.
- Heat oil in a wok till it burns, add the entire ground spices one by one, roast for a minute, and then add half of the chopped onions and saut on medium flame till the onions are golden brown. Add ginger paste and garlic paste, saut a bit. Add the marinated beef chunks to it and saut till oil separates from the sides of the wok. Turn off the heat.
- Add 3 cups of water to the crockpot and set the cooking temperature to low. Pour the contents of the wok to the crockpot, add the remaining onions, slit green chili, and salt to taste, and cook on low for about 7 to 8 hours or till the meat is tender.
- Once ready, adjust the salt by tasting the dish and sprinkle it with coriander leaves before serving.
Tips on Making Beef Stew in a Crockpot
- Use fattier beef cuts. It is good to have enough fats. As the stew cooks long, the fat melts and separates from the connective tissue and meat leaving soft and tender meat with rich and silky gravy.
- Use less spices at the start. As the spices will cook for long time, they will sharpen the taste of your dish making it more intense and spicy and can even dominate over the subtle and soothing flavors of meat and melted fat.