Putting a piece of meat into a shallow layer of sizzling-hot fat will do wonders for its flavour. Getting the cut surfaces of the meat to brown will enrich both the flavour of the meat and the juices in the pan. But no tinkering: the meat must be given time to brown properly.
Enough for 4
rapeseed oil for frying
cubed beef (eg chuck steak) 500g
onions 2 large
garlic 3 cloves
ground cumin 2 tsp
ground coriander 2 tsp
garam masala 1 tbsp
vegetable or beef stock 500ml
grain mustard 1 tbsp
double cream 200ml
Warm a little oil in a heavy, shallow casserole. Season the beef with salt and black pepper, then colour on all sides in the oil, turning only occasionally. Remove from the pan with a draining spoon.
Meanwhile, halve, peel and thinly slice the onions. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the pan, letting them soften a little but not brown beyond pale honey colour.
Stir in the ground cumin, coriander and garam masala, then continue cooking for 5 minutes before returning the meat and any juices to the pan. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, till the liquid has reduced by half.
Stir in the mustard, pour in the cream and bring to the boil. Check the seasoning and serve.
• Nigel's new book, Kitchen Diaries II, is published by Fourth Estate at £30. To order a copy for £19.99 (including free UK mainland p&p), go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop or call 0330 333 6846.