Salted Beef – Kolkata Anglo Indian Style


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It’s a common practice during Christmas season to exchanged cakes with relatives. In fact every morning during Christmas week we would keep tasting different cakes thanks to these exchanges. For me however the most special cake exchange happens between us and the family of my paternal uncle who along with cake always used to give us a chunk of Salted Beef. Since childhood I and my father used to eagerly wait for this which we would devour with a piece of bread and cheese. This however had stopped for a good two years when unfortunately my aunt had injured herself and was unable to make salted beef. This became a point where my cousin brother decided to make their own portion of this fantastic Anglo-Indian classic.

Salted beef is a form of cured meat where the piece of meat is treated in salt and lemon solution for days and then finally roasted till it becomes completely dry. This form of curing beef was once a standard across many Anglo-Indian and Christian families in Kolkata especially during the winter Christmas season however with time many families either stopped making these or the newer generation never learnt this traditional recipe.

We carefully studied the original recipe from the people who used to make it and talked with them to understand in details about the process which is critical for this dish. The ingredients are simple but the process is complicated and time consuming. The dish takes around three to four days to prepare and during the span of curing its needs to be constantly monitored. Thus armed with all these knowledge we tried our hands to prepare the first batch of salted beef.

Ingredients:-

Beef (Shank Portion) = 2 Kilo

Beef (Shank Portion)
Beef (Shank Portion)

Lemons = 20 – 30 Pieces

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Lemons

Salt = 1 Cup (regular tea cup)

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Salt

Shora (Potassium Nitrate) = 1 Tea Spoon

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Shora (Potassium Nitrate)

Cane Sugar Jaggery = 2 Units

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Cane Sugar Jaggery

Process:-

  • Make sure the meat is fresh and take a shank portion.
  • Ensure no fat is present in the meat, any presence of fat will spoil the entire process.
  • Carefully remove the fat layers in between the layers also.
  • Dab the meat dry with a fresh piece of cloth to take away any moisture.
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Carefully Removing Fat from the Meat
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Carefully Removing Fat from the Meat
  • Extract the lemon juice into a bowl.
  • Ensure the metal bowl does not react with lemon and salt thus use a stainless steel bowl.
  • Strain the lemon juice to remove any seeds or other impurities.
  • Add salt into the lemon juice mix.
  • Add Shora (Potassium Nitrate) into the lemon juice mix.
  • Ensure both the ingredients gets completely dissolved.
  • Add the meat portion to the lemon juice solution.
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Day 1 in the Lemon Solution
  • Make sure that the entire meat submerges into the solution thus depending on this add additional lemons.
  • Use a fork to punch holes into the meat to let the lemon solution inside.
  • Keep the bowl open and do not refrigerate.
  • Cover the bowl with a cloth. Make sure this cloth is a light material with pores so as to let the air pass.
  • Keep it like this for at least three days.
  • During these three days at least three times a day poke holes into the meat with a fork and with a spoon pour the lemon juice solution from top.
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Day 2 in the Lemon Solution
  • Avoid touching it with hands as this may spoil it.
  • On the fourth day add sugar cane jiggery to the lemon solution.
  • Start heating the bowl in a light simmer.
Slow Heating/Roasting the Meat in Lemon and Jaggey Solution
Slow Heating/Roasting the Meat in Lemon and Jaggey Solution
  • Occasionally keep pouring the boiling solution on top of the meat.
  • Keep doing this process till the juice completely evaporates and only a think residual formation is seen.
  • After cooling down use a fork to grip the meat chunk and shake it hard to let the extra salt formation come loose.
  • Salted beef is now ready and can be kept under refrigeration to prolong its shelf life.
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The Final Product
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Salted Beef
Fresh Salted Beef – Ready To Eat
Fresh Salted Beef – Ready To Eat

Salted beef tastes best with bread and add some cheese to it and it will be just “perfect”. It tastes a bit salty just like most cold cut meat and some people just like to have them as it is. So this season try something different and make your own portion of salted beef.

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10 thoughts on “Salted Beef – Kolkata Anglo Indian Style

  1. Wow, learnt something different. In our part, particularly in Southern Africa we make Biltong (and Jerky). Silverside is cured in mixture of vinegar, salt and spice and then air dried. You can also use kudu or ostrich – alas in India, these are also not available.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It taste best this way : it should be a Sunday when you are out of home…. take out the salted-beef piece stored by you in the fridge….. take some slice bread…. make small bits of the salted beef… make some rough sandwich … umm…. sorry nothing was left when you returned….. but we were six of us…. and I can vouch for them it was really a wonderful treat !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was hoping you will put up post on chinese new year. I hope you knew about our cny which was on the 27 th jan, i have been cheking your blog since then, hoping to read bout the happenings in tangra which i left behind. I now live in vanvouver and read your blog hoping to find a little solace from getting homesick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yupp I will write about CNY. In fact was there at Tangra last evening enjoying Chinese Food at the annual CNY Fete.

      I want to write the blog a lil differently bringing Dragon Dace into it thus will take some time but I am sure you will love it… 🙂

      Will keep you posted 🙂

      Like

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