My Dad was a locomotive driver for the Burma Railways for almost 20 years. He would have to travel “on the line” for several days at a time and on his return journey home, he would be laden with an assortment of brightly coloured sweet goodies and baskets of delicious exotic fruits. My Dad would then delight in cooking us one of his specialty dishes named after his home station, "Beef Rangoon".
I have modified this dish to suit most palates as the original recipe required more chilli powder and a little paprika. I have swapped these two quantities around to accommodate the fainthearted, but of course you could add more chilli powder to suit your taste buds if you wish.
Quick History about this dish:
This is a very tasty dish that serves 4 -5 people. There are just a few ingredients that you need, which you will probably already have in your store cupboard. Depending on the cut of beef, this dish can take less than an hour for the preparation and cooking time.
Both the Original Balachaung and Crispy Balachaung would compliment this dish beautifully.
1 Kg Beef
A cheaper cut of beef that comes with more fat. As the fat renders it releases lots of flavour, however you will need to cook this cut for a bit longer.
My preferred cut. A more expensive cut than Braising steak, but has less fat and cooks quicker.
2 tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Chilli Powder
You can use more chilli powder depending on how hot you can handle. I recommend that you add a little and check for taste during the first stages of the cooking process. The hotness depends on the type of chilli powder you buy. Once you know the strength then you can judge the quantity for the next time.
1 tsp Salt
You can adjust this according to your taste.
2 tbsp Dark Soya Sauce
(½) Brown Onion(Medium)
Vegetable or Sunflower. This is only for the main recipe and not for frying the potatoes
2 tbsp Cooking Oil
2 large Potatoes
If you would rather a leaner option, you can swap for roasted sweet potato. Peel, cut into cubes and roast(200c fan)
Slice the beef into 3-4 cm wide strips and about ½ cm thick. This will help to braise the beef quicker rather than cutting thicker strips. If your cut of beef has a layer of fat, either trim it off for a leaner dish or slice the fat as thin as possible, as it will dissolve and add flavour to the dish.
Dice the onion as small as you can
Peel and chop the potatoes into about 2cm small cubes ready for frying
For sweet potato: Peel, cut into 2cm small cubes, place in a bowl and pre heat oven to 200c fan
Place the measured paprika(2tbsp), salt(1tsp) and chilli powder(1tsp) in a small pot
Jug of hot water at the ready for step 7 of the method.
For sweet potato: Drizzle in 1tbsp of oil, mix to coat well and spread out on a baking tray in a single layer. Place into the pre heated oven for about 25 - 30 mins, turning occasionally until just soft.
1) Heat up the oil(2tbsp) on a medium heat in a medium size pot, then turn down to a low heat.
2) Add the paprika(2tbsp), salt(1tsp) and chilli powder(1tsp).
3) Continuously stir the mixture for about 20 seconds until it starts to darken. (Make sure that you do not burn the spices, the less oil used, the quicker it'll burn).
4) Add the beef(1kg), coating it well in the spice mixture.
5) Increase the heat to high and continue mixing until the beef is sealed, turning a dark colour 2-3 mins.
6) Add the soya sauce(2tbsp) and continue mixing for 1min
7) Slowly add the hot water so that the level is just over the meat by about 2-3cm and give it a stir. Be careful as the hot water may sizzle and splash.
8) Add and stir in the diced onion (½).
9) Bring to the boil and turn down the heat to simmer. Place the lid on the pot and cook for about 15mins.
10) Deep or shallow fry the potatoes until golden brown and leave to drain off excess oil.
If using sweet potato, remove from the oven after 25 - 30mins(just soft) and leave to rest
11) Check the beef to see if it is tender. If not add a little more water and continue to simmer. Repeat until the beef is tender.
12) Once the beef is tender, remove the lid and continue cooking until all the water has evaporated and you’re left with a thick gravy.
13) Add the fried potatoes or sweet potatoes to the pot and carefully stir in as to not mash.
14) Place the lid on the pan and leave it to rest for about 5mins.
This dish is best served with white basmati rice and dhal and my tomato & cucumber salad or can be eaten in a wrap with salad and lashings of Balachaung for a lighter meal.