Beef vindaloo from Chishti’s

I fell in love with a tiny Indian restaurant in Melbourne’s inner suburb of Fitzroy, and was particularly enchanted with the chef’s version of beef vindaloo. I adhered to my principle of asking for special recipes. Harjinder Singh Bhogal, who was in the midst of writing his own cook book, was happy to oblige.

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon mustard oil

pinch of salt

10 curry leaves

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

ΒΌ teaspoon turmeric

2 cups plain yoghurt

500g beef from the rump, chopped into walnut-sized chunks

2 tablespoons fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic

3 green chillies

2 tablespoons ghee or oil 2 onions 3 tomatoes

1 teaspoon cloves pinch of turmeric

2 or 3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon garam masala — Harjinder’s spice mix comprises bay leaves, coriander seeds, black pepper, cloves, green cardamom pods, brown cardamom pods, cumin and cinnamon, whizzed to a chunky powder.

1 teaspoon fresh coriander


Make a separate mixture of vinegar, mustard oil, salt, curry leaves, cumin seeds, ground coriander, red chilli powder, turmeric and yoghurt. Marinate the beef in the yoghurt-based mixture for at least 12 hours, turning it occasionally.


Grind a mixture of fresh ginger, garlic and green chillies.


Heat ghee or oil in a saucepan. (Many Indians prefer ghee, but oil is also excellent for curries.) Brown the onions. This will take about 20 minutes. Be watchful.


Add crushed and peeled tomatoes, ginger mixture, another pinch of turmeric, cloves, mustard seeds, bay leaves and garam masala. (Home-made garam masala makes a big difference to the taste; however, there are many commercial varieties available.)


Cook until mixture forms a rich sauce. Add marinated beef and cook on a medium heat for 45 minutes or until tender. Serve garnished with fresh coriander.

WINE : A beer with good hops character is my preference here. Try Hahn’s from Sydney or Cascade from Tassie. Depending on your chilli fire-power, a big jug of iced water is the go.