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