Slow Cooker Indian Beef

Things I love lately:

1. Instagram

I feel like I’m two years late to the greatest party ever, so I’ve been Instagramming my face off. Come find me. I’m perrysplate. (My naming creativity is astounding.)

2. My slow cooker(s)

I can completely justify having three slow cookers. And I know I’m not alone.

3. Beef

Thank goodness, because we have a ton of it. Almost literally.

4. Ethnic flavors

Ironically, Emeril Lagasse is the source of one of my most favorite Indian recipes to date. (Just as ironic as Giada providing my favorite BBQ sauce recipe.) I found this recipe in his book, Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders, a book I reviewed last year.

This recipe calls for a lot of spices that most people don’t keep on hand, like cardamom pods, garam masala, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves. The only reason why I have all of these things is because I grind my own curry.

If you have an interest in making your own Indian dishes, I suggest buying these kinds of spices whole, in bulk at an ethnic grocery store (much cheaper and whole spices last a long time!) and an inexpensive spice/coffee grinder. Freshly ground spices are out of this world. I’ve started grinding all of my cumin now and keep it in a mason jar. The smell alone is so much richer and more fragrant than pre-ground.

It’s not the prettiest dish, but heavens… it has so much flavor, and slow cooking the beef makes it fall-apart tender. It made me want to dance around in a sari.

Pink, to be exact.

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Slow Cooker Indian Beef

This recipe is slightly adapted from Emeril's spin on rogan josh, a dish traditionally made with lamb.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 3 to 3 1/2 hours

Total Time: About 4 hours


2 Tablespoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 pounds beef stew meat or boneless chuck cut into 1 1/2-2 inch cubes (organic and grass-fed, if possible)
2 cups small-diced onion, divided (about 1 large onion)
2 Tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (see note)
7 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter
1 or 2 seeded and chopped serrano or jalapeno chiles
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
6 cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (see note)
2 cups beef stock or broth
1 1/4 cups yogurt, preferably Greek style
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Steamed basmati or jasmine rice, for serving
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds, for garnish (optional)


In a medium bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add the beef, 1 cup of onion, and 1 tablespoon of minced ginger and toss to coat. Allow meat to marinate at room temperature for an hour. (Or marinate, chilled, for at least 4 hours.)

Place the arrowroot powder in another medium bowl. Remove the beef from the marinade and shake off most of the onion into the slow cooker as you transfer the beef to the arrowroot powder. Lightly dredge the beef in the powder, and place the remaining onion from the beef bowl into the slow cooker.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (Medium heat if using butter.) Add the beef to the skillet in three batches, cooking, and turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides. The meat does not need to cook all the way through. Add 2 tablespoons of oil with each new batch of beef. Transfer beef to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Transfer the browned beef to the slow cooker.

Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel, if needed. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the chiles, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and remaining 1 tablespoon ginger; saute for 20 seconds, then add the remaining diced onion. Saute for 30 seconds, then transfer the spice-onion mixture to the slow cooker.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil to the pan along with the cardamom and cloves and saute until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Wrap the cardamom and cloves in a small piece of cheesecloth and secure like a pouch with a piece of kitchen twine. (See note) Add spice pouch, garam masala, beef stock, and the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons salt to the slow cooker.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Stir beef once halfway through cooking. During the last 10 minutes, stir in the yogurt. Right before serving, remove the bay leaf cinnamon stick, and pouch and stir in the herbs. Serve with rice and garnish with almonds if desired.

Nat's Notes:
1. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of flour, but I used arrowroot powder in order for it to be gluten-free. You can also use 1/4 cup of cornstarch if you like.
2. Garam masala is an Indian spice blend. I've noticed it in the spice section of many grocery stores, but you can also make your own version. Google will find you a recipe.
3. I didn't have any cheesecloth, nor did I want to buy any. I happened to have a metal, mesh tea ball (for brewing loose teas), so I used that. You could probably use a small piece of thin fabric or try to fish out the pieces afterward. (I wouldn't recommend that, though. They'd be really hard to find.)

adapted lightly from Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders by Emeril Lagasse

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26 Responses to “Slow Cooker Indian Beef”

  1. #
    J — October 4, 2012 @ 4:52 am

    Sounds delicious, but I hope you appreciate the irony of “Indian beef”!


    • Natalie replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 7:27 am

      I do. Haha. I thought of that as I was preparing it! I wonder if Emeril appreciated the irony as well?

  2. #
    Karly — October 4, 2012 @ 6:57 am

    Sounds amazing! I’ve never tried grinding my own spices, but now I feel like I’m missing out. Really that much yummier?


    • Natalie replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 7:29 am

      Oh… I’m a complete convert. If you decide to do it, just SMELL the difference between what you grind and the pre-ground stuff at the store! I grind cumin, cloves, and my own curry powder now. I also use the grinder for flax and small amounts of nut flours, so it gets a lot of use!

  3. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — October 4, 2012 @ 7:35 am

    It’s so time to let the crock pot live on the counter top for the next 6 months! This dish looks awesome! I’ve been aching for Indian food and am bummed that Sonora is completely lacking in ethnic restaurants…I’ll bring the restaurant to my house…in the crock pot….with this recipe!


    • Natalie replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

      Yes! That and my electric tea kettle! :)

  4. #
    NebraskaNancy — October 4, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    Now how did you know that I have a package of frozen beef stew meat that needs to be used up soon?! And that I was on the internet looking for a recipe?! I make homemade Indian food once a month. I usually make several dishes, plus bread, and tea, thus only once a month. I have to say, that I am a bit hesitant to try a slow-cooker Indian recipe, but I will be brave and do it! I do grind my own spices and make my own garam marsala and I won’t ever do it any other way!


    • Natalie replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

      We’re obviously kindred spirits, Nancy. I was totally catching your vibes. I love that you grind your spices, too!

  5. #
    Cassie — October 4, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    Yay for Instagram and slow cookers and curry! I love this, Natalie! I took a fish curry class on Sunday and it was so great. I am definitely going to look into grinding my own curry too!


    • Natalie replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

      How fun!! What kind of fish did they use? I don’t think I’ve ever made a fish curry!

    • Cassie replied: — October 5th, 2012 @ 10:27 am

      The gal did one with shrimp and the other dishes all with basa, which is similar to cod or tilapia. They were all so good!

  6. #
    Carla's Confections — October 4, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

    Mmmmm, I think this dish definitely looks delicious. Indian food was one of our favorite meals to eat when we were in New Zealand. I have yet to make it myself. I really want to try it soon. This dish looks like a perfect starter :) We should make it when I come visit you!!!


    • Natalie replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

      Yes! That would be perfect! :)

  7. #
    Joanne — October 4, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    I would never have thought Emeril was the source of this recipe! The flavor in it sounds amazing…I’m so glad I DO have all those spices on hand!


    • Natalie replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

      Oh, it is amazing. Emeril’s got a knack for that :)

  8. #
    The Life of Clare — October 4, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

    This looks amazing! I feel like I’ve forgotten about instagram a little bit recently, must remember it, it’s really great!


    • Natalie replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

      Instagarm IS really great. I love love love it. Maybe more than this recipe…

  9. #
    Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily — October 5, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    Do your kids like Indian food? I need to prepare it more often and build up on the spices to get my kids used to the pungent flavors I love so much. I really need to grind my own spices more often, I usually only do w Indian spices.


  10. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — October 5, 2012 @ 9:12 am

    Soooooooooo making thiiiiiiissaaaaaaaa.


  11. #
    MegW — October 10, 2012 @ 6:38 am

    Yum looks great! A coffee filter is a great substitute for cheese cloth!

    I have a lot of venison to use up, I think this will be in the crockpot very soon!


  12. #
    Renee — October 10, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    I hope you have more crock pot inspiration coming up! I really love my crock pot now that I found one that works beautifully (my old one cooked everything too hot and fast so I got rid of it, but not soon enough!).


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  15. #
    dfordelea — January 20, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

    This recipe was absolutely delicious! We made it with a shoulder cut of beef with bone in, and it turned out fantastic. So moist, juicy and flavorful! We made 1 small variation since we like our food spicy – we left the seeds in the serrano peppers. It was quick and easy recipe.


  16. #
    Stephanie — October 24, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

    Any suggestion for what type of red wine to serve with this dish for a dinner party?


    • Natalie Perry replied: — October 24th, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

      Sorry, Stephanie, but I don’t drink! I’m absolutely no help in that area. :)

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