Blanched almonds add great texture to this flavoursome indian classic.


  • 4 medium brown onions
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 50g butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, sliced
  • 2 small red chillies
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander root (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1kg gravy beef, trimmed, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 1/2 cups Basmati rice
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 3 1/2 cups Massel chicken style liquid stock
  • fresh coriander leaves, to serve


  1. Halve and thinly slice 3 onions. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and half the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and salt. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Add sugar. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onions are caramelised. Stir through raisins. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, quarter remaining onion. Process onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, coriander root, tomato paste, 1/3 cup almonds, and 11/2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan over high heat. Cook beef, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl. Heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add tomato paste mixture. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add garam masala, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Return beef to pan. Stir to combine. Add 11/2 cups cold water. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until beef is just tender. Spoon into a 4.5 litre-capacity baking dish. Top with onion mixture.
  4. Heat remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add rice, bay leaf and cardamom. Stir to coat. Add stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for 8 minutes or until stock has absorbed. Remove from heat. Stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Spread rice over raisin mixture in pan. Cover with greased baking paper. Bake for 40 minutes or until rice is tender. Stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Top with remaining almonds and coriander leaves. Serve with raita (see related recipe).