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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23 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

  4. Hi Subhadip, thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I would like you to please clarify the following because I would like to try this recipe soon. thank you.
    1. you mean 20 -30 full limes
    2. Is this the Iodised table salt that we get now
    3. What quantity is this “2 Units” of Cane Sugar Jaggery – how many grams?
    4.How do we add the jaggery on the 4th day — the units as it is or it has to be crushed.
    5. How many days can one keep this Salted Beef in the refrigerator.
    with best wishes
    Penny & Mohan
    cochin, kerala

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. you mean 20 -30 full limes
      YES FULL AVERAGE SIZE LIMES

      2. Is this the Iodised table salt that we get now
      IODISED

      3. What quantity is this “2 Units” of Cane Sugar Jaggery – how many grams?
      APPROX 200 GRAMS EACH (NOT SURE EXACTLY AS THEY ARE SOULD OUT HERE IN UNITS)

      4.How do we add the jaggery on the 4th day — the units as it is or it has to be crushed.
      CRUSH AND ADD HALF OF ONE UNIT SO THAT IT MIXES WELL

      5. How many days can one keep this Salted Beef in the refrigerator.
      MONTHS. JUST DONT TOUCH IT WITH DIRTY (MOISTURE) HAND OR KNIFE. KEEP IT AWAY FROM MOISTURE AND IT STAYS ON.

      Like

  5. Hi Subadip, There were two more comments on this thread– one by Pragho in which he mentioned sausages in Kerala and another post in which the other person says he has authentic Entally sausage recipe. i had made a query to each of them the same day I wrote to you. Since yesterday I cannot find their posts and my query to them. However, my query to you and your reply are still there. Can you please tell me what happened. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I cannot view any one of them, Sir.
        Can you please tell me if they have replied to my queries. If so, would you please tell me what their replies are. Thank you very much, Mr, Subhadip…….. Mohan

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi………i liked your pastrami/indian thing going on……….really nice take.

    I make cured meats as a business in the U.K and i’m always looking at new ideas. Recently i have experimented(very successfully), with more eastern flavours…….something that the ‘west does not accept, generally)…………everybody wants cured meat euro style……..what they forget is that every human race today has had their own versions of this(and still have), otherwise they would not be here today!! So, i know a lot about various places and their cured meats,,,,,what about india???????? I cant find accurate info because its all in hindu etc….i need some help. I want to uncover this……i know the history of spices and the portugese etc, but you must have a traditional culture of curing meat in some way. I realise much of the cross border stuff has influenced you………buriani etc etc….from persia to you………but much came back the other way, back into persia…!!The spice route saw to that….it was not one directional at all and very much a 4 lane motorway, bi-directional , cultural route of its time……biggest in history. Im a degreed politician and a very keen historian , who now works in food…..namely, cured meats, the oldest of them all. It’s what allows us to trace history from the soldiers of the east to the far west of the UK…..it fascinates me.!!!

    I believe in uncovering old foods and want to investigate them…………this is my most obscure starting point. Please help me on my way and we can find out more about this.
    a you, All the best,

    Andrej Wout

    Liked by 1 person

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