Sri Lankan Entree
2 pound piece of sirloin or beef chuck
2 tablespoons vinegar
½ teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves
1″ ginger root
1 large onion
1 small green chile
1 stalk lemongrass (tender inner bottom part only)
2½ tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
2″ cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
10 fresh curry leaves or ½ teaspoon dry curry leaves or curry powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1¼ cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon or tamarind juice
Serves 6. Takes 2 hour 30 minutes
Make holes in beef with fork. (This will aid in marinating.) Add beef, vinegar, and pepper to bowl. Marinate for 1 hour.
While beef marinates. Mince garlic cloves, ginger root, green chile, and onion. Seed and mince green chile. Thinly slice lemongrass. Add ghee to pan. Heat ghee at high heat until is hot enough to make a fenugreek seed dance. Carefully add beef to pan. Sauté for 2 minutes on each side or until browned all over. Remove meat to plate. Leave beef juices in pan.
Add garlic, ginger, green chile, onion, cinnamon stick, fenugreek seeds, fresh curry leaves. and lemongrass. Sauté for 3 minutes on medium heat. Stir frequently. Add beef back to pan. Add beef, red pepper flakes, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Lower heat to low and simmer 40 minutes or until the beef reaches your desired level of doneness and coconut milk reduces to a gravy. Turn beef over every 10 minutes. Slice beef to your desired thickness. Spoon onion gravy over beef slices.
1) At first, Sri Lankan Beef Smores were cooked on a handy twig over an open flame.
2) But the weight of the meat made the twig snap
3) The sirloin would fall into the ashy fire pit.
4) Chefs then shouted, “I need more sirloin.”
5) So many sirloins landed on ashes that this requested shortened to, “I need smore sirloin.”
6) Then eventually to “Smore” by the Monosyllabic Chef Association (MCA).
7) And so it went. Sirloin after sirloin fell into one campfire pit after another.
8) This food wastage bankrupted one restaurant after another.
9) Clearly, the food-service industry needed a new idea.
10) And in 1619, Chef Kasun Perera revolutionized everything when he said, “Why not move this meal indoors? We won’t get rained on.”
11) “Or even stampeded by elephants.”
12) Sure, moving the meal to avoid getting crushed by wild beasts seems obvious now.
13) But isn’t the way with all new ideas?
14) No, not all new ideas arise from Stampeding Elephant Fear Syndrome (SEFS). Rather, all new ideas will eventually seem obvious.
15) You could have skipped to this tidbit from tidbit 11, but it wasn’t obvious then. It is now. See?
16) Or even have skipped to here. Any way, moving fire pits inside dramatically lessened the number of deaths due to elephants.
17)However, way too many restaurants burned to the ground from the flames in the open pits.
18) Customers look askance at fleeing a burning restaurant.
19) The restaurant industry needed another fertile mind.
20) It got with Tharindi Bandari, when in 1878, he said, “How about cooking things on a pan on a metal stove?” They will be no fires when we cook our beef smores this way.”
21) It’s impossible to overstate how this brainstorm transformed cooking.
22) Now, the entire world enjoys fire-storm free dining.
23) America came up with a different solution to the ashy sirloin problem. In 1958 little Timmy Perkins replaced the ingredients of the Sri Lankan Beef Smore with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate saying, “The weight of melting marshmallow will never break our twig.” It worked! It tasted great. “I’ll have smore,” said Timmy’s dad. And in 1997, Timmy’s brilliance would win him the Noble Price for Culinary Achievement.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef