Pulled Ox-Cheek

Smoky Cardamom Curry 

It seems that just about everything is being cured, smoked and stoked in the foodie world…not that I’m complaining! Far from it, the taste of smoky, slightly sweet and sticky meat falling apart under the tender touch of fork, flatbread and fingers is just too much for me to resist. Call it weak-willed, a touch of the gluttons embrace, or perhaps just a little epi-curious, whatever my condition it’s a welcomed one and in the resonant words of my South African chef, friend, Kevin Joseph “We ‘Indians’ can curry anything”.

So in the shadow of such a sentiment I took to making good use of a pair of Ox-Cheeks, a great affordable cut of meat, which when slow cooked takes on a sweet disposition and when braised with the smoky scent of black cardamom, warming cinnamon, and tangy tamarind, the flavour profile of this Ox-Cheek curry is sensational. No, scrub that. It’s extraordinarily addictive, so much so that the Maharani demanded I order another set of cheeks pronto.

Do yourself a favour find some time, buy some cheeks, fast and the feast on this gorgeous combination.

Serves 4

  • 600g Ox Cheeks, kept whole
  • 60ml sunflower oil
  • 2 x onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 snapped quill of cinnamon
  • 6 black cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • Half a bottle of red wine
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml water
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbs tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Dash of salt
Pulled ox-cheek curry

How To Make Ox-Cheek Curry 

Using a large deep stock-pot, over a medium heat warm the oil and add the whole spices, of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Fry the onions, garlic, and ginger until opaque. Now pitch in the ox-cheeks and brown on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the wine, water, tinned tomatoes and stir in well, drop in the garam masala, tamarind concentrate, sugar and salt seasoning. Agitate well and cover, cooking for 3.5 – 4 hours until the meat can be easily torn apart.

Spoon out the ox cheeks into a separate bowl and using a pair of forks, shred the meat. Reserve the liquid. Serve the meat over a bed of rice, or mash and generously drizzle the sauce over the assembly.

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