My Kitchen Antics: Sri Lankan beef smore


This beef pot roast of sorts has been quite popular. I served it at a Christmas party a couple of years ago and got some good reviews and the recipe has been passed on to friends and family over the years. I made it so often for a while and then decided to go off it for the longest time. I find something i like and i eat it or make it till i get sick of it and then not look it at forever. This was something like that, only I went back and made it again last week and fell in love with it all over again. I had a good enough reason too…

…a gorgeous piece of meat from Donald Russell, Britain’s leading mail order meat supplier. They are based in Aberdeenshire and guarantees the best-tasting meat you’ll ever find. From traditional cuts of naturally reared beef, pork and lamb to more contemporary ones like game and veal, they have quite a wide range of products. They also have a unique collection of marinades for different kinds of meat, which is worth checking out when you’ve run out of ideas to impress.

My handsome piece of meat came nicely packed in a chilled box, shock frozen and i removed it immediately and transferred it into my freezer. It was a large thick piece of meat, so i had to thaw it at room temperature for quite a bit of time. The quality of meat was excellent and i can safely say, one of the best so far. We paired the beef dish with a full bodied red wine, and mashed potato and vegetables to soak up all the gravy. It was so difficult to make the end product look nice in the picture. But trust me it tasted fabulous.

Recipe adapted from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey (serves 4 as part of main meal)


Beef shoulder/ brisket meat- 1kg, tied as a roast

Salt- to taste

Pepper- to taste

Coriander seeds- 4 tsp

Cumin seeds- 1tsp

Fennel seeds- 1 tsp

Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tsp

Oil- 3 tbsp

Cinnamon stick- 1, 2 inch piece

Cardamom- 3 pods

Cloves- 3 pods

Onion- 1 large, finely chopped

Ginger- 1 tsp, peeled and finely chopped

Garlic- 1 tbsp- peeled and finely chopped

Chilli powder- 1 tsp

Tomato paste- 1 tsp, diluted in 1/4 cup water

Chicken stock- 1 1/2 cups

Coconut milk- 1 cup


Pat dry the piece of meat and season generously with salt and pepper on all sides.

Dry roast the coriander, cumin, fennel and fenugreek seeds for about 2 to 3 minutes or till fragrant, keep aside to cool and then grind to a fine powder.

Heat a pressure cooker over medium-high heat and sear the meat on all sides, to tap in all the flavour. Transfer to a plate and rest.

Reduce heat to medium and into the same pressure cooker add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and sauté for a couple of seconds, making sure you don’t burn them.

Add the onions, ginger and garlic and continue sautéing till the onions turn a golden brown and the raw smell from the garlic and ginger disappears, around 7 to 8 minutes on medium heat.

Add the ground masala powder and chilli powder and stir well.

Pour in the diluted tomato paste and continue to stir, till oil slowly starts appearing on the sides.

Add the red wine vinegar and chicken stock at this point and bring to a gentle boil.

Check for salt and add if needed

Carefully place the seared meat , along with any juices, into the gravy, ladle over some of the liquid and close the pressure cooker.

Wait for steam to appear and put on the weights. Reduce heat to low and cook for about an hour.

You will have to play this by ear because cooking times depend on the cut of meat and your pressure cooker. For me, one hour was perfectly fine, in fact 50 minutes to be precise, as the meat was almost fall off consistency.


Open the cooker and stir in the coconut milk.

Bring to a boil and turn off the heat.

Transfer the meat to a chopping board and slice lengthwise.

Place on a serving tray/ bowl, pour over the gravy and serve with crusty bread or mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables like how we did 🙂

Notes: Original recipe calls for slow cooking in an oven, covered, at 175C for 2 1/2 hours, while basting and tuning at intervals.

I’m thinking this recipe would be just as fine with stewing beef pieces.

With thanks to Donald Russell for sending me the gorgeous piece of meat.

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