3

I've seen this, but it does not answer my question.

This is with regard to the Kerala beef fry or even Kerala beef curry; not the western way of cooking steak.

The steak pieces: 1kg bought from a local beef shop where they just take a random piece of meat, chop it into little pieces of around 2 or 3 cm in size and give it to you.
What I did: Kept it in freezer for two days, took it out today and put it in water and heated the water a little. Pulled apart frozen pieces slowly in a span of an hour and allowed it to reach room temperature.
Recipe: Added spices as per this recipe and left for marination for an hour.
Pressure cooker: Put beef in cooker and heated on slow fire for 35min until there were 4 whistles/steam-let-outs that happened in a span of 2 minutes. Allowed pressure to go down and after around 20 min, opened the cooker to find the meat very rubbery. Appeared slightly cooked on the outer layer for 1 or 2 mm, but the meat inside seemed raw and when I try to tear it, it feels tough and rubbery and extends a little like when you start pulling chewing gum apart with both hands.

Beef meat ends up like this every single time I try to cook it in a pressure cooker. I'm sure I didn't overheat it and it certainly wasn't cooked for too long. Or is it wrong to cook it in a pressure cooker and instead boil it in an open top container? I hadn't added vinegar or wine or lemon juice during marination. Could they have made a difference?

ps: I continued heating the beef with its gravy for another 20 min on low flame, but it didn't seem to make the meat any better. So I separated the gravy and roasted it as in this recipe. The taste turned out excellent but the meat was still rubbery. So it would be much appreciated if you could help with info on ensuring that the meat is tender and well cooked when we start cooking it itself.

7
  • 2
    @Robert Stews are often cooked in a pressure cooker to speed things up-- instead of cooking all day, you can develop a similar complex flavor and tender meat by pressure cooking for a short time. I believe its also popular with large pieces that contain a lot of connective tissue that needs broken down. If nothing else, they do it on Iron Chef America all the time to cook things that would otherwise be impossible in an hour.
    – senschen
    Mar 13, 2017 at 16:14
  • 1
    "Random piece of meat"? Is at least a "random piece of the <XYZ> part of the animal"? "Random piece of meat" doesn't happen where I live. Mar 13, 2017 at 18:33
  • 1
    "Random pieces of meat" isn't steak. Mar 13, 2017 at 22:55
  • 2
    Looked up "steak" and realized that the butchers here cut perpendicular to the direction steak is usually cut in. He slices off a large sliver of meat from whatever piece of the animal he currently has hanging in front of him and proceeds to chop those into little pieces. If I could give him any instructions on which parts of the animal to cut, and how to cut it, I'm open to suggestions. These guys are not educated much, and it's unlikely anyone taught them the intricacies of meat cutting.
    – Nav
    Mar 14, 2017 at 8:33
  • 1
    @Nav: Where is "here"? Mar 14, 2017 at 15:47

2 Answers 2

10

Starting with a "random piece of meat" may be part of the problem. Some cuts are more suitable for this than others.

If the meat seems "raw", then something is very wrong here. An hour at pressure-cooker temperatures is more than enough to over-cook it. There's no way it could be raw.

I suspect that over-cooking is the problem, and that will depend on the cut you're using. I suspect you've got a piece with little fat or connective tissue, and that's not going to soften in a pressure cooker. It shouldn't seem "raw", though; it should seem over-cooked.

In the future, I'd suggest looking for a chuck roast or other fatty piece. If you do end up with a cut like bottom round, it may help to cut it into thinner pieces, across the grain. That mechanically tenderizes the meat by snipping the chewy fibers.

Either that, or something is desperately, weirdly wrong with your pressure cooker.

2
  • 1
    I was just told that I'm supposed to wait for steam to come out of the vent pipe and only then place the weight over it. The "whistles" were not the full whistles that usually last for 3 to 4 seconds. These whistles were just 1 second long. I believe the meat was undercooked. Today morning my mom took the roasted beef pieces and cooked it in the cooker again. Now it seems slightly better cooked, but hasn't lost the rubbery feeling entirely. Taste also declined.
    – Nav
    Mar 14, 2017 at 8:38
  • 2
    That sounds odd; that's not the way pressure cookers are ordinarily used. Still, having fully cooked it, it sounds like you got a cheap cut that should be sliced thinner to make it less rubbery. My guess is that it's bottom round, a cut that is not very flavorful in the first place. Fully cooking it will make it even more tasteless, though the flavor it loses will end up in the sauce. Mar 15, 2017 at 15:43
3

I don't use a pressure cooker, so don't know how to translate the timings, but cheap meat for a curry - which is actually the best to use - would need a 4-hour simmer at 'normal' atmospheric pressure.

'Rubbery' is a clear indicator of undercooked. You need to break down the collagen. Until you do, it will remain as tough as old boots.

It will also give the rest of the flavours time to develop properly. If it had been 'good, lean steak' - the worst kind for a long cook - you would have more likely described it as dry, even grainy or chalky.

If you do overcook 'braising steak' it will eventually start to go stringy & again harder to chew. There's a break-point at around 4 hours. Too much longer & it's over-done. There's a fair transition period so you don't need a stopwatch, but you do need to learn this timing by repetition, as it will change depending on your pan type & burner setting.

Your window will be shorter in a pressure cooker, and harder to test - you can't drop the pressure & build it back again, or your timings are gone. Over is more edible than under, so go long first time & retard your timings after that, until you get the right window. If you test too early then try to catch back up without pressure, you will need to add hours, not just 20 minutes.

A 'traditional' Keralan beef curry would be put on the stove before the family set out to church, Sunday morning; to be ready hours later when they get back.
[info sources: 1. My favourite Keralan restaurant [although that specific dish & description isn't on their menu at the moment, they cycle the menu a lot] 2. My niece is Keralan ;)

2
  • 1
    Thanks for your answer. Small correction: It's "Keralite". Not "Keralan". There are people in Kerala who deep fry beef with spices in such a way that the taste is addictive. You are right about rubbery being undercooked. With time, I've been able get it cooked fully by first cooking on high flame until the first whistle and then lowering the flame and cooking for another 20 minutes. After the pressure reduces, I check, and if it needs more cooking, I cook it until one whistle again. This is usually sufficient to cook it sufficiently. A 4 hour simmer is definitely better, but fuel inefficient.
    – Nav
    Jun 2, 2023 at 10:45
  • Ah, OK. That's like people from Manchester being Mancunian; or Leeds, Loiners - you wouldn't know if you didn't know. All the restaurants describe themselves as Keralan, so I guess it's just never cropped up in conversation. I tend to use a slow cooker, never owned a pressure cooker, so my '4 hours' just becomes 'all day', with timings like 'add peppers after 6 hours', or 'add okra an hour before serving'… much more leisurely timings ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 2, 2023 at 10:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.