In the olden days when there was no refrigeration, excess meat was smoked or dried usually by hanging on a wooden pole, horizontally on top of a wood fire hearth.Meat was smoked this way to use the heat energy from the wood fire while cooking food for the family. After the food is cooked, a wire mesh is laid on the hearth and then the meat is laid on it .In this method the meat dried slowly for 2 -3 days while getting a nice smokey flavour as the embers of the fire burns themselves out.
In my hometown, Kattankudy, Sri Lanka we cook dried/ smoked meat into a curry with potatoes or casava, which is what I am showing you here. We even add dried meat to vegetable curries to enhance the flavour of the vegetable curries.
These days, chilli and masala powders are added to dry the meat. If the meat is not dried enough you may use the oven to dehydrate the moisture and store in the freezer.
This dried meat can be eaten as a snack too.
Time: Total of 30 minutes by pressure cooker and 1 hour by gas/electric cooker (10 minutes preparation + 20 minutes for pressure cooker or 40 -50 on gas stove)
serves: 3 – 4 persons
300 grams smoked/dried meat (I used dried beef)
1 big onion, sliced
2 green chillies,sliced
1 medium tomato, cut into cubes
2 green cardamom
1 2 cm piece cinnamon
1 tsp ginger and garlic paste
2 tbsp plain yoghurt/ curd
200 ml hot water
150 ml thick coconut milk
3 tsp meat curry powder or a combination of ¼ tsp of each of chilli powder,coriander powder,cumin powder,fennel powder,black pepper powder and turmeric powder
A few curry leaves
1 (4 cm )piece of pandan leaves
2 medium sized potatoes,cut into cubes
Coconut oil/ oil
Salt to taste
*I have used coconut oil which may create foam while tempering the onion.The use of curry leaves and pandan leaves are optional to provide lovely aroma to the curry.
1.Cut the dried meat into 2 cm cubes; add the the meat powder, a few slices of onion, green chillies and a few cubes of tomato; mix well. Add potatoes to the meat if you are using pressure cooker. If not, add the potatoes halfway through cooking. Leave the meat mix aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2.Heat oil in a pressure cooker or saucepan.When hot add the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Leave it for a few seconds; add the sliced onion; let the onion turn to a golden brown colour.
3.Add curry leaves then the ginger and garlic paste, stir until it turns light brown in colour. Add yogurt, keep stirring while the yogurt mixes well into the onion and ginger- garlic mix only leaving a trace of oil.
4.At this stage add the tomatoes, cook till it becomes soft and mushy.
5.Add the meat mixture, cook for 5 minutes.
6.Add hot water, mix well.
7.Pressure cook for 20 minutes or according to your pressure cooker instructions. If you are not using a pressure cooker, let it come to a rolling boil; reduce the flame to slow and cook until the meat is tender. If it takes a longer time to cook you may need to add more hot water.
8.Just before the meat becomes tender or half way through cooking add the potatoes and cook till both are tender, then add salt.
9.When the meat is tender add the coconut milk and check for seasoning.
10.When it is about to boil turn off the heat.
Serve hot with steamed rice or bread of your choice.