Chefs' Recipes

O Tama Carey’s black braised brisket

Rich with sweet spices and soured with tamarind, this black braised brisket dish is robust and hot. Serve it with O Tama Carey’s cabbage mallung and rhubarb achcharu.
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3H 30M
3H 50M

“The flavours of this dish are based on a dry black curry traditionally made with wild boar,” says O Tama Carey. “The secret is in toasting the spices until they’re almost but not quite burnt. Rich with sweet spices and soured with tamarind, this is a robust, spicy and hot dish.” Serve this with cabbage mallung and rhubarb achcharu.


Black curry spice blend



1.For black curry spice blend, dry-roast whole spices over medium heat until mustard seeds start to pop and spices darken and become fragrant (4-5 minutes). Remove from pan, add chilli powder to pan and toast, stirring continuously, over low heat until quite dark (2-3 minutes; this can cause coughing and watering eyes). Add chilli powder to other dry-roasted spices along with nutmeg and saffron, then finely grind in a blender or with a mortar and pestle (see note).
2.Preheat oven to 150C. Season brisket with salt, then rub with half the black curry spice blend. Heat a frying pan large enough to hold meat over high heat, add oil, give it a moment to heat up, then slip in the brisket. Give it a few minutes before turning and searing the other side until browned (2-3 minutes each side). Transfer to a deep baking dish that holds brisket snugly.
3.Add shallot, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, chilli and lemongrass to the same pan used to sear the brisket, and stir over high heat for a few minutes, then add remaining black curry spice blend; it looks like a lot, but it’s necessary. Stir until spices begin to stick to the pan (6-8 minutes), then add tamarind and 500ml water. Stir and bring to the boil, then pour mixture over brisket. Cover brisket with a sheet of baking paper then foil, and braise in oven until gelatinous (3-3½ hours). Rest in pan for 20-30 minutes.
4.Thickly slice brisket and serve with cooking juices poured over. (You may want to skim some of the fat off the top first, but I like to keep it.)

If all that spice sourcing and roasting seems daunting, buy a black curry powder from a Sri Lankan grocer instead. You’ll need 70gm for this recipe.

Drink Suggestion: Super-fragrant IPA Drink suggestion by Max Allen


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