Anglo Indian Beef Oxtail Vindaloo Curry

Like any enthusiastic new bride, I had great plans for our first wedding anniversary. A candlelit dinner at home, of course, specially cooked by moi. I wanted to make something very special to celebrate my wonderful husband and our fantastic first year together. An extremely awesome, impressive and satisfying dish. Totally smart and fashionable. A real swish dish! 

And that's how I settled on a rich and succulent beef oxtail curry. Now really, what could be more swish than that?

A plate of beef oxtail curry and potatoes on a leather bag with binocular, a bottle of gin, a hip flask and a white hat

I decided to keep the anniversary dinner menu a surprise. No amount of cajoling from my husband could get me to reveal the my menu. All I told him was that it was going to be something very special, very delicious and a real delicacy.

The beef oxtails were clandestinely purchased at our local butcher and then hidden in the back of the fridge. 

Freshly cut oxtails on a newspaper with cut garlic, green coriander leaves and a wooden knife


And after waving my husband off to work, I lovingly braised and slow cooked the oxtails with spices into a vinegary, tomato based curry, until they were so tender that the meat could be cut with just the gentlest pressure of a fork. I planned to serve this flavorful, gelatin-rich oxtail curry with rice and potatoes. 

Beef oxtail curry, Indian oxtail, oxtail vindaloo with potatoes, oxtail masala

The night of our anniversary, I could barely contain my excitement. I was dying to see the look on his face as he tasted the heavenly oxtails. I brought the dish to the table, beaming proudly and with great flourish removed the lid for the grand reveal. 

"It smells wonderful," he said. "And what a beautiful, rich red gravy."

Then, a small pause, as he moved in closer to serve himself. A slight hesitancy as he peered through the dim candlelight over the rim of the pot. 

"What is this?" he asked.

"Beef oxtails!" I proclaimed.

"I don't eat spare parts."

Well, he had ramen noodles that night.  And I enjoyed the oxtails, ditching the cutlery and going at them with my hands instead, pulling off every morsel of meat, sucking on the delicious gelatinous ends, and licking every last drop of robust flavor off until the bones were completely wiped clean. 

I'm happy to report that many years on, we're still happily married. And I still make beef oxtails, but just for myself, since he still doesn't eat them. All I can say is his loss. He doesn't know what he's missing.


FAQs


What kind of meat is oxtail?

Beef! It's the culinary name for the tail of cattle. Not necessarily an ox, it could be a cow's tail or any other cattle's tail. The tail is skinned and then cut up into pieces.


Is oxtail a healthy meat?

Not really, but it sure does taste good. Oxtails are rich in collagen, a vital protein for healthy joints and skin elasticity, but they are also high in fat. When cooked, the oxtail soup/stew/gravy or curry will have a lot of fat floating on top. To make the dish a little healthier, you could skim off some of the fat once the gravy has cooled. Alternatively, you can trim off some of the fat before cooking. But, really the fat adds to the richness and decadence of this dish, so don't remove too much.

How do you make oxtails tender?

Oxtails are a tough cut of meat. They need to cook for a really long time to break down the connective tissue and collagen in the meat. If they haven't been cooked long enough they will be tough. Traditional ways of preparing oxtails involve slow cooking it for many hours (3-4 hours in a stove pot or 7 hours in a crockpot!) 

But who has the time for that? Using the pressure cooker or Instant pot to cook oxtails, is a popular short cut method that produces equally good results- super tender, fall-off-the-bone meat with a much shorter cooking time. (about 45 minutes- 1 hour). My recipe below is for curry oxtails cooked in a pressure cooker.

Oxtails cooked in a pressure cooker, curry oxtail in pressure cooker
Oxtails cooked to tender perfection in a pressure cooker


Curry Oxtail in Pressure Cooker | How to Cook Oxtails in Pressure Cooker


  • My Indian style oxtail recipe is cooked like a vindaloo curry with red chili powdervinegar and tomatoes. This Indian oxtail curry recipe is not very spicy, so for a spicier dish, add another 1/2- 1 teaspoon red chili powder.

  • Vindaloo curries are known for their rich red color. For a really red oxtail curry, switch out the regular chili powder for Kashmiri chili powder. However, do note that Kashmiri chili powder is less spicy than regular chili powder.

  • Mustard powder is a must for this dish. If you don't have mustard powder you can dry grind black mustard seeds to make mustard powder.

  • This oxtail vindaloo style curry should be made at least one day before serving to allow the meat to absorb all the flavors.

Below are the general steps and cooking times to make any oxtail recipe in a pressure cooker:
  1. Place oxtails in a pressure cooker.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of liquid (water or broth) to cover oxtails.
  3. Close pressure cooker and cook on high flame until steam escapes from unstoppered valve.
  4. Once steam escapes, put the stopper/weight on the pressure cooker and continue to cook on high flame until the first whistle.
  5. After the first whistle, reduce the flame to low and cook for 40 minutes from this point.
  6. After 40 minutes, turn off the stove and allow the pressure to release on its own. The oxtail will continue to cook in the pressure cooker. 
  7. After 30-40 minutes, open pressure cooker and check for doneness. Cooked oxtails should be tender. When cooked properly, it should be easy to pierce oxtail meat with a fork. 

Fresh, raw oxtails in a newspaper with a head of cut garlic
Ready to cook these fresh oxtails? The recipe is right below...


Anglo Indian Oxtail Vindaloo Curry Recipe


Servings: 4
Spice level: 2 on 5


Ingredients:


☐ 1kg oxtails
☐ 1 cup sliced onions  ( roughly 1 medium sized onion)
☐ 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
☐ 3 teaspoons jeera/ cumin powder
☐ 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
☐ 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
☐ 2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (roughly 3 medium sized tomatoes)
☐ 2 teaspoons vinegar or more to taste
☐ 2 medium sized potatoes, boiled separately and cut into thick slices
☐ Salt to taste
☐ 4-5 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil


Step by Step Instructions:


Step 1: Prep
  • Wash and soak oxtails in water.

Step 2: Grind masala
  • In a mixi, grind the sliced onions, ginger garlic paste, jeera powder, chili powder and mustard powder. Add a little water when grinding, to make a paste.

Step 3: Fry Onion Masala
  • Heat oil in a wok and fry the ground masala on medium to high heat for 10-12 minutes.  When frying the masala, stir frequently and add splashes of water when required to prevent the masala from burning. 
  • Fry until the liquid content of the masala reduces and the masala begins to look shiny as the oil starts to release from the masala.

Step 4: Fry Tomato Puree
  • In a mixi, puree the chopped tomatoes.
  • Add the tomato puree to the fried onion masala. Stir frequently and fry on high heat for about 10-12 minutes until the liquid puree reduces and the masala looks thick and shiny. 

Step 5:  Pressure Cook the Oxtails
  • Add the drained oxtails to the wok. Toss well to mix it with the masala and fry the oxtails lightly for 4-5 minutes.
  • Transfer the oxtails and masala into a pressure cooker.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of water, salt and vinegar.
  • Close pressure cooker and cook on high flame until steam escapes from unstoppered valve.
  • Once steam escapes, put the stopper/weight on the pressure cooker and continue to cook on high flame until the first whistle.
  • After the first whistle, reduce the flame to low and cook for 40 minutes from this point.
  • After 40 minutes, turn off the stove and allow the pressure to release on its own. The oxtail will continue to cook. 
  • After 30-40 minutes, open pressure cooker and check for doneness. Cooked oxtails should be tender. When cooked properly, it should be easy to pierce oxtail meat with a fork. 
  • Check for salt and vinegar. 

Step 6: Serve
  • Oxtail vindaloo curry is best prepared a day or two in advance of serving. So, leave oxtails in the fridge to absorb all the flavors.
  • On the day of serving, heat oxtail vindaloo curry, along with thick slices of boiled potatoes.
  • Serve with white rice or bread.

Related Recipes:

Indian Chicken vindaloo curry, Belem mosaic, Portugal


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