A favourite in any Goan Catholic home, roast beef made with green masala is a simple, yet incredibly delicious dish. Usually a staple at Sunday meals and feast days, the succulent beef that this recipe produces is undeniably the result of a blend of cultures – Portuguese and Goan.
The vinegar that is used in making this recipe is a Goan Catholic ingredient that is never used in non-Catholic cuisine. A personal story that comes to mind is a visit from a Hindu policeman to my home when my mother was cooking. The policeman found the aroma of beef and vinegar completely revolting but, for me, that aroma was my connection to my mother and my home.
This ingredient, derived from coconut toddy, which is collected sap from coconut flowers, can be used after the toddy has been naturally aged for 8-12 months. The longer you keep the vinegar, the stronger it becomes.
Vinegar has many health benefits:
Coconut vinegar contains polyphenols or plant compounds that can to an extent lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The fermentation process the coconut vinegar goes through renders it a probiotic, thus giving it the ability to optimise gut health and digestion.
The acetic acid in coconut vinegar is known to reduce blood sugar rising and controls insulin resistance. This in turn also helps curb the constant need to eat that comes with carbohydrate-rich meals and helps one lose excess weight.
Those with high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) could reduce the level by using coconut vinegar.
One needs to exercise caution if attempting to consume coconut vinegar directly, in its pure form, because it is abrasive to tooth enamel and the gut lining.
Recipe for Goan roast beef (green masala)
1 kg of beef
1 ½ tbsp of ginger-garlic paste
5-6 tbsp of coconut vinegar (use less depending on the intensity of the vinegar)
3 tsp of pepper powder (finely ground)
1 tsp of turmeric (haldi)
3 tbsp of coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 ½ tsp of sugar
salt to taste
Method of preparation:
You can either cook the beef separately on a low flame with vinegar and add the other ingredients later or marinate the beef whole, cook it and slice it later. In this particular recipe, the beef is cut into 1-inch chunks. Make a marinade of the 2 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste, 3 tsp of finely ground pepper powder and 1 tsp of haldi.
Add the mixture, vinegar and salt to the cut-up beef. Marinate for 6 hours at least. You can even marinate it for as long as 12 hours. After marinating the beef, put it in a saucepan, add oil and cook it first on a high flame for about 7 or 8 minutes. After 7-8 minutes turn the heat down to the minimum, add half a mug of water and let it cook for an hour or a little more than an hour. The beef itself will release water, so do not add too much water.
This mouth-watering Goan roast beef with green masala can be paired with boiled rice and curry, roasted/fried potatoes or thinly sliced in Goan pão.