The Infamous Hamilton Madras Curry

So a bit of background before I mention the curry.

My mothers mother, who we called Grandma, came from a large family. She married my grandfather pretty early in life and raised 3 daughters while also managing the household and small income they had, helping my grandfather run his church as a pastors wife, sewing all the clothes for the family and feeding both her own family and all the stragglers who would turn up at her table wanting a meal. Often, she would have to stretch their low income to feed at least 12 people for one meal. So she was extremely creative.

Because the church they ran was in Tasmania during the 60s to the 80s, the cuisine climate there was not….to put it kindly, very diverse. While Tasmania has a long history of migration from different parts of the world, for most of our history, the state has been very British, food-wise. My grandmothers mother was from an Irish family but our descent is pretty much UK [with one or two instances of continental european blood popping up]. So, what my grandmother learnt to cook was both not very international and also needed to feed a lot of people.

Enter Keens Curry Powder.

A proud Tasmanian product, Keens offered housewives around Australia the opportunity to experience foods inspired by ‘Indian’ or ‘Asian’ cooking, without too much fuss. We still proudly keep a cannister in our house to this day, as we use it to create the dishes my grandmothers made. So with that background, on to the recipe.

This recipe has been a family favourite since I was old enough to remember. This was one of the dishes we bought out every special occasion and there would be fights about who got to eat seconds. I can attest that leftovers were scarce . It was so loved that I once stamped on my brothers foot so he couldn’t steal more out of the saucepan and made him cry. Because my grandmother was a pastors wife, it needed to be not too many ingredients, easy to cook and not take up too much time plus feed many people.

The Hamilton Madras Curry
2 brown onions
1 kilo beef, cubed
1 large jar of tomato paste
at least 1 HEAPING dessert spoon of Keens curry powder [depending entirely on how hot/spicy/fierce you want it to be]
Lemon juice

  1. In a large saucepan, brown the onions in oil until nicely coloured
  2. Add the beef and cook until it looks like a nice colour
  3. Add keens curry powder and mix, making sure to coat everything evenly
  4. Add jar of curry paste and 1/2 to 1 jar of water, using it to get the residue of the paste into the saucepan
  5. Cook, simmering for one hour on the stovetop
  6. Add lemon juice at the end
  7. Taste, adjust for seasoning and then serve up

The curry will have turned a lovely red colour, ranging from bright to a mild darker red depending on curry powder amount, tomato paste type ect. This recipe can be served with rice, potatoes, vegetables and most mild sides. The star of the dish, however, should be the curry.

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