A wonderfully hearty meal, exquisite in its simplicity yet incredibly fantastic in flavour. And the aroma whilst it cooks slowly over a low heat is irresistable, especially on those cold gray days when all you crave is an invitingly warm bowl of home-made stew and some chunks of bread to dip into it. YUM!
The steak should be at room temperature when you begin, so take it out of the fridge at least half an hour before starting to use. First, dry each piece of steak COMPLETELY by patting the pieces with kitchen towels. Once all the pieces are nice and dry, season them with a pinch of salt and pepper, then dust the flour over them to coat all the cubes well.
Heat the butter and oil until melted and hot. Add the steak cubes, don't crowd the pan, you can do this in 2-3 batches. Make sure the steak gets browned well on all sides. Remove and place the meat in a bowl, keep covered.
Once all the steak is done, see if there is any oil left...if not, you can add a little bit more. If there are bits and pieces of burnt steak in the pan, don't worry about it, that will add flavor to the dish, just continue with the recipe. Add the onions to the hot oil, and stir fry until they are golden. (you can add mushrooms at this stage if you want them in the stew). When golden, add the ginger and garlic pastes and the green chillies plus whichever spice you want to use, like cumin, paprika or coriander powder.
Next add the tomato paste followed by the grated fresh tomatoes, sugar and a bit of salt. Cook them for a few minutes until thick then add the steak and simmer together for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the broth, and once it comes to a simmer, turn the heat down to it's lowest point and cover the pot. With the heat on very low, let the stew simmer for an hour or two. Depending on the cut of meat you have, it could take longer for the beef to tenderise. If you can help it, don't rush this dish by making it in a pressure cooker...the best thing about stews is the incredible flavor that develops when everything is slow-cooked. But if you are strapped for time you could speed things along by pressure cooking for about 20 minutes. Once the steak is tender, add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and allow to cook for an additional 40 minutes or so on very low heat until the vegetables are tender. Check on it every 15 minutes or so and add more broth or water whenever needed.
Once everything is cooked to your satisfaction, adjust salt and pepper, then squeeze the lemon juice in. Turn off the heat and serve, garnished with freshly chopped coriander. Some good accompaniments to this dish would be either rice or mashed potatoes or crusty chunks of bread.