West Indian Beef Curry with Callaloo (Steamed Greens)



4 to 6 servings




1-1/2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
1-1/2 tbsp. whole fennel seeds
1-1/2 tbsp. whole cumin
1-1/2 tbsp. whole black mustard seeds
1-1/2 tbsp. whole fenugreek
1-1/2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
2-1/2 tbsp. ground ginger
2-1/2 tbsp. ground turmeric
1 cinnamon stick


5 cups callaloo, spinach or
swiss chard, well-washed and chopped
1/4 cup of water
1 md. onion, diced
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 Scotch bonnet, finely chopped
2 tbsp. of vegetable oil
1 tbsp. of butter
pinch of fresh or
dried thyme
Salt to taste


1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 lb. braising or
stewing beef, cut into 2-inch dices
1-1/2 cup onions, diced
1 cup West Indian white sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
1 cup fresh or
canned tomatoes
1-1/2 cup beef or
chicken broth
1 cup of water
4 tbsp. of West Indian Curry


Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Fry the beef that has been well seasoned using the curry spice mix and a little salt. Once the meat has started to take on a golden brown colour, add the onions and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Add the stock and water and gently simmer with the lid on for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes or until the meat is soft and tender. You may need to add a little more water to maintain a good sauce consistency. This curry is often served with rice and beans and a side dish of callaloo.


Dry roast all whole spices in a thick bottom pan over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove, allow to cool and grind using a small spice blender or pestle and mortar. Add the ginger and turmeric and store in air-tight jar. This spice mix will last for 3 to 4 months before losing some of its flavour.


In a large pan over medium heat, gently fry the onion, garlic, Scotch bonnet and thyme in the butter and vegetable oil. Place the callaloo on top, add the water, season with salt and gently simmer over low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the stock of the callaloo is soft and tender. Stir occasionally and check the seasoning. Remove and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. It is important that the callaloo remain green and not turn grey or brown in colour as this means it is overcooked.

Chef Michael Bonacini

Author's Comments

This is an aromatic curry from the West Indies. If you prefer your curry with heat, add hot sauce or freshly chopped Scotch bonnet peppers to the beef curry as it cooks. Scotch bonnet is one of the hottest peppers available so be cautious.

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