Oxtail Curry
FEM Chef

23rd January 2014


With a unique texture and flavour that customers will love, this oxtail curry recipe is one of a kind. Fire up your Alto-Shaam and give it a go, with Chef Dushan’s recipe and helpful advice.

Chef Dushan's latest recipe

1993 was a long time ago but I can vividly remember sitting in my friends garden in Harare, experiencing an African winter which is basically a breeze of cold fresh air in the middle of June. Although it gets bit colder in the evening and it’s just cold enough to have some oxtail stew. My friend made it using an Irish stew recipe, replaced lamb with oxtail and cooked it for a couple of hours longer. He used smaller parts oxtail such as the rings of the tail and the end of the tail. These parts are succulent and less meaty. Oxtail has a unique texture and flavour – it’s one of a kind. It’s a great working muscle, traditionally in some parts of North America, South Africa, China , Korea, Italy, India and Ireland and there is a feeling that the older the cow or ox the better the tail.

Over the years I have been cooking and serving oxtail in many ways such as ragu, stew, curried, off the bone in ravioli and with pastas. This recipe which I’m sharing today is a bit different - I pinched it from my Southern African family and over the years, I have changed nothing apart from the amount of chillies used. You can purchase oxtail ready to cook at most local butchers and markets and even the big supermarkets have it on shelves nowadays.

Alto-Shaam Cook and Hold Oven
Induction Hob
Vollrath Gastronorm Pan

2kg oxtail (cut in to segments – the butcher will do this)
4-5 tablespoons of rapeseed oil or sunflower oil
3 large white onions (finely chopped)
10 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
5 carrots (cut in to cubes/brunoise)
½ bunch of celery (finely chopped)
3 parsnips (cut in to 1ck cubes brunoise)
2 dried ancho chillies
1 whole scotch bonnet chillies (finely chopped)
2 stalks lemon grass (finely chopped)
4 tsp garam masala
3 tsp turmeric
2 tsp dried pomegranate seeds
3 tsp dried smoked paprika
8 cardamom pods (take seeds only)
2 tablespoons of mild curry powder
2 heaped tablespoons of good curry paste
2 bay leaves
2 chicken stock cubes (or 700ml chicken or beef bouillon)
Light soy sauce
2 cans of chopped tomato (or the same quantity of fresh skinned tomato)
250ml of yogurt
coarse salt
black peppercorns
fresh coriander
8 apricots (dried and chopped)

Method (prep time 30mins)
1) Start up your Alto Shaam Cook and Hold Oven. Heat it up to 130°C and set to cook at 130°C. It will take 45 minutes to heat to cooking temperature. Set the cook by time to 4 hours and the hold setting at 75°C. Place a shelf on grid 5 from the bottom and close the bottom vent, leaving the top vent half open.

2) Chop all of the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, parsnip and chillies. Have all of the herbs and dried spices close to hand and have all the stock, tomatoes and yogurt measured and ready to use.

3) Heat up the sunflower oil or rapeseed oil in a large sauce pan using an Induction Hob and when it’s hot add your onions, celery, carrot and parsnip first then sauté until onions are translucent. Next, add their companions: garlic, chillies, lemon grass and all the dried herbs and spices. Sauté more and let the spices fry. Let them stick at the bottom of the pan, but not burn and scrape with a spatula frequently. You will smell the fragrances smoking, stir and sauté.

4) Add your oxtail and seal and sauté on all sides, stirring constantly, frying all the spices whilst sealing the oxtail - all on a high heat.

5) Once brown and sealed, add tomatoes. The acids from the tomatoes will de glace the bottom of the pan - nothing should be left stuck at the bottom to burn. Let it boil. Whilst boiling add your stock and let it boil again. Add bay leaves, salt and black pepper.

6) Once boiled, switch off the heat. Use a ladle to transfer everything from a sauce pan in to a Gastronorm Pan. The Alto- Shaam will be ready by now - probably bleeping for you to feed it!

7) Once all is in the pan, cover it with a layer of industrial catering film then a layer of tin foil and wrap in tight around the edges. Then lightly perforate with knife or skewer at the top. Place the Gastronorm Pan in the Alto-Shaam and press ‘cook start’.

Take a break!

8) 3 ½ - 4 hours later, fish the largest oxtail out of the stew and check with a fork that the meat is slightly falling of the bone (similar as to when cooking lamb shanks).

9) When all is cooked, add two handfuls of chopped coriander and correct the seasoning salt pepper to taste. If it’s too hot add yogurt and mix it in gently.

10) At the very end add dried apricots, cover and leave for another 30 minutes. You can keep it on hold and serve from the Alto-Shaam during your service or you can portion and freeze for months. Like most curries, it only gets better once taken out of the freezer and regenerated or heated up on a pan.

I serve it with steamed long grain rice, cucumber raita, mango chutney, rooties or chapattis and if the season is right, I sprinkle the whole dish with pomegranate. This dish is full of flavours, the meat is exquisite, unique and complex in flavour so savour it and enjoy it!
Hope it brings a smile to your face!

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