Beef Bhuna

Bhuna is a perennial favourite in the British Indian Curry house and my beef bhuna works that typical thick clingy fragrant gravy heavy with fenugreek.

Bhuna is a perennial favourite in the British Indian Curry house and my beef bhuna works that typical thick clingy fragrant gravy heavy with fenugreek.

Beef Bhuna.

A Bhuna pronounced boona is probably one of the most common dishes on a British Indian Curry House menu.

My fakeaway beef bhuna plays with the same ideas of a really thick and unctuous tomato based sauce coating big chunks of beef.

For the beef, you want something robust enough to stand up to pretty long cooking. This allows the sauce to cook down so I go with some rump, or round as my American readers will know it.

Be sure to cut it into big chunks, you want something 3-4cm to prevent it from breaking down.

Bhuna is a perennial favourite in the British Indian Curry house and my beef bhuna works that typical thick clingy fragrant gravy heavy with fenugreek.

What Is A Bhuna Curry?

A Bhuna curry hails from Bangladesh or North East India.

This explains its popularity in the British Midlands much of the Indian migration to this area is from the Bengali region. As a result, many of the hundreds of Indian restaurants I grew up with feature Bengali food.

It is characterised by its lack of sauce, which is just the way I like my curries. You will note that many of my curry recipes do not have a moat of sauce or gravy around them.

As far as I am concerned the amount of gravy in a curry needs to be just right. Just enough to be mixed in with the rice and mopped up with a naan bread with none left over!

Typically a bhuna is only cooked in its own juices. My beef bhuna adds a little tomato into the mix, because beef and tomato in a curry just works.

Bhuna is a perennial favourite in the British Indian Curry house and my beef bhuna works that typical thick clingy fragrant gravy heavy with fenugreek.

Fakeaway Recipes.

I was looking through my fakeaway recipes a couple of days ago. I was amused to note that I have pretty much worked my way through a typical British Curry house menu in the last two and a half years here on Krumpli.

Everything from Vindaloo, madras to TandooriAloo Gobi to Tikka Masala and not to mention Naan Bread and Chapati, along with many more I have not mentioned.

Although I do note a distinct lack of lentil dishes…

Don’t worry I have made a mental note.

I do find it amusing that I probably now eat Indian food more often than I did when I lived in the legendary ‘Balti Triangle’ in Birmingham.

Bhuna is a perennial favourite in the British Indian Curry house and my beef bhuna works that typical thick clingy fragrant gravy heavy with fenugreek.

Cooking Curry At Home.

Cooking a curry at home should not be intimidating. Usually, curry recipes like this beef bhuna contain many more ingredients than western recipes.

But this profusion of ingredients is what leads to the complex and wonderful flavour we love.

Here is my guide to my Indian store cupboard:

  • Fenugreek (Seeds & Leaves): Essential, for me this is one of the defining flavours of the Indian food that I cook.
  • Coriander Seeds: Essential, buy seeds and grind them as required to extend shelf life.
  • Cumin Seeds: Essential, again buy whole seeds and treat like coriander seeds.
  • Ground Turmeric: Essential, adds a mellow back note and wonderful colour.
  • Kashmiri Chili Powder: Essential, relatively mild with a great flavour that allows lots to be used to give a great colour.
  • Fennel Seeds: Important, these are rarely dominant flavour but offer a good anise background complexity.
  • Cardamom Pods: Important, again one of the subtle background flavours that define Indian food.
  • Tamarind Pulp: Nice to have, an ingredient with a long shelf life that adds a very distinctive sour edge to foods. I could not be without it but it is not essential!
  • Onion Seeds: Nice to have, this is one of the ingredients I love, it is far from essential but adds a great flavour and texture.
  • Asafoetida: Nice to have, again, one of the subtle flavours that is difficult to put your finger on. If you cook a lot of curries get some asafoetida.
  • Cinnamon Sticks: Pretty important, but they should already form part of a well-stocked cupboard anyway.
  • Cloves: Pretty Important, see cinnamon sticks.

There are of course lots of other spices you can add but this list should give you a good start.

Bhuna is a perennial favourite in the British Indian Curry house and my beef bhuna works that typical thick clingy fragrant gravy heavy with fenugreek.
Beef Bhuna

Beef Bhuna

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Bhuna is a perennial favourite in the British Indian Curry house and my beef bhuna works that typical thick clingy fragrant gravy heavy with fenugreek.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil, Neutral
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Diced
  • 35 g Ginger, Diced
  • 2 Green Chili, Finely sliced
  • 250 g Onion, Cut into half moons about 1cm thick
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 300 g Tomatoes, Roughly Chopped
  • 100 ml Water
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 500 g Beef, I use something like rump as it can handle the slow cooking, cut into 3-4cm chunks
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Handful Fresh Coriander, Chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat, making sure that the pan can be transferred to the oven and has a lid.
  2. Add the chili, ginger and garlic and fry gently for 2 minutes.
  3. Next add in the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the cumin, ground coriander, chili powder, turmeric and garam masala and stir to toast for 60 seconds.
  5. Now throw in the tomatoes, tomato puree and water and cook down for 10 minutes.
  6. When thick and the tomatoes have begun to break down a little season your beef with salt and add to the pan with the fenugreek leaves.
  7. Place in the oven covered by a lid for 30 minutes at 180°C or 350°F.
  8. After 30 minutes remove the lid and cook for a further hour.
  9. Whilst this is cooking stir every 15-20 minutes to fold in the tips of the meat that are caramalising. This is essential to the flavour of the curry.
  10. This recipe loves fresh coriander, so throw as much of it as the dish as you dare!

Notes

This is a rare Indian fakeaway that I don't serve with an Indian flat bread, I typically just stick with some good rice.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1014 Total Fat: 65g Saturated Fat: 21g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 36g Cholesterol: 218mg Sodium: 819mg Carbohydrates: 35g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 13g Protein: 73g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

14 thoughts on this Recipe:

    • Nah any temperature 😉 Just kidding, sorry… I used to have a preheat your oven at the start of my recipes and later edited to remove that, it would seem I skipped adding the temperature back into this recipe. I’ve updated now, but it is 180°C or 350°F, thanks for the head up 🙂

      Reply
  1. I live in a sleepy part of France and have trouble getting coriander so I’m not holding out much hope for fenugreek leaves…can they be left out?
    Also the beef here is to be avoided, can I use chicken?

    Reply
    • Haha, I feel your pain… I am in deepest darkest Hungary and need to make a 350km round trip to Budapest to keep my spice cupboard stocked. Fenugreek leaves come dried and last a few months in the freezer, of course you can omit them though it will change the flavour but hey cook with what you have and use a recipe as a base. Chicken is fine for this although make sure you go for the brown thigh meat rather than the breast if you want to taste any chicken at all and make sure you change up the cooking times, the thighs will take a lot less time to cook.

      Reply
  2. All of those spices and tomatoes and rice sound like they would be so delicious together. Love that you’ve done another type of British Curry house recipe.

    Reply
  3. Beef bhuna sounds very nice and tasty !
    I had tried this dish with my family friends few years ago … was curious about finding the recipe
    Alas! I found the recipe
    Thanks for such a lovely recipe!

    Reply
  4. I don’t live too far from the Balti Triangle so I eat Indian food pretty regularly! I don’t think I’ve actually tried a bhuna before though; the sauce sounds delicious so I will give a paneer version a try.

    Reply
    • Superb, it’s been nigh on 10 years since I’ve visited the UK… Bhuna was always a favourite of mine although I went through a phase of eating pathia all the time.

      Reply

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