Sri Lankan Black Tea Braised Sirloin Beef Stew
“Think that loose leaf tea in your operation can only be steeped? Think again,” says Iraj Fernando, executive chef at Robert Bosch LLC., managed by Southern Foodservice Management. “Not only do they impart flavor and add nutrition, tea marinades also help make the meat more tender, breaking down muscle tissue and resulting in more succulent and juicier meat,” Fernando shares. Prepared separately, hearty root vegetables provide a satisfying balance to this rich stew. Serve with roasted vegetables or over turmeric-spiced potatoes for a global flair.
3 cups water
7 tbsp. loose black tea or 10 tea bags (preferred Dilmah Black Tea)
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. ginger
1 stalk lemon grass, chopped
10 lb. boneless sirloin butt steak, trimmed, cut into 1 ½-in. cubes
2 tbsp. ground coriander
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. ground fennel
2 tbsp. ground turmeric
4 tbsp. olive oil
5 tbsp. coconut oil
3 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium)
4 curry or bay leaves
3 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
6 tbsp. minced garlic
2 red jalapeño peppers, minced
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cardamoms
2 tsp. ground cloves
1 cabbage, medium sized, large dice
3 lb. carrots, peeled, chopped, parboiled
3 large onions, medium dice
3 large potatoes, peeled, diced, parboiled
3 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp. salt
2 cups light coconut milk
½ cup red or white wine vinegar
2 strips lemon rind (1-by-2-inches)
- Boil water. Add tea leaves, garlic, ginger and lemon grass and return to a boil. Brew for 8 minutes.
- After 8 minutes, stir once. Brew for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Cover and refrigerate until cool.
- When cool, pour liquid over beef. Marinate overnight.
- Toast coriander, cumin, fennel and turmeric over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until toasted, stirring occasionally.
- Heat large stew pot or kettle over medium-high heat. Add coconut and olive oils. Combine toasted spices, pepper, salt and half of tea water.
- Add onion, curry leaves, ginger, garlic, jalapeños, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Sauté 8 to10 minutes, or until onions are tender. Remove from pan.
- Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add marinated beef in batches, cooking 10 to 15 minutes to brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Add coconut milk, vinegar and lemon rind, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Return beef to pan. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours or until beef is very tender. Discard rind.
- When meat is close to being done, in separate pan, heat oil and add all vegetables, including cooked onions with salt and black pepper, and stir-fry on high heat until vegetables are cooked.
- When vegetables are sautéed and onions and cabbage are cooked through and beef is super tender, add vegetables to saucepan with beef. Stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. (If water has simmered down, keep adding water and adjusting salt and pepper until there is enough gravy before adding vegetables.)
- Serve over rice, turmeric potato or egg noodles.