I have eaten a good amount of ox tail curry in my life (love it), and since our pig-in-a-day snout to tail cookery and butchery experience I feel like my chef-y odd bit cookery skills are more honed than ever. When my friend brought be a bundle of ox tail bits I was pretty stoked to bust out a curry, and tonight was the night. I knew I had to braise the meat and then pressure cook it for the softest tender beef, and that is exactly what I did. These nubby tail bits were slowly braised in pork lard and a heavy seasoning of salt and my favorite garam masala spice, then set to cook (in my instapot pressure cooker) for a few hours with some frozen whole garden tomatoes, loads of onions, and garlic… the yield was the most insanely moist buttery bits of beef ever! This curry also got a healthy dose of potatoes, peas, more spice and coconut milk for a creamy robust spicy curry, very similar to a vindaloo.
Ox tail isn’t for the faint of heart though! It’s no boiled pig head, but it is a little gnarly, albeit an abundant and cheap cut of meat. It’s a little bit like cleaning a roasted chicken carcass for soup, you need to caress the meat from the bone and sort out the fatty cartilage-y undesirable bits, of which there are about equal amount yuck to yum factors with tail. Totally worth the effort, and in fact the only time I have cooked as buttery melt in your mouth meat was in fact when I was making headcheese, the pork check was divine.
So if you find yourself flush in tail chunks, here is the low down on making a killer curry with them, you won’t soon forget:
Start by washing ox tail bits, and removing any hair you might find (fair warning) pat dry with a tea towel then season with a good sprinkle of sea salt and some garam masala. In a screaming hot heavy bottomed pan braise off the tail bits in a good amount of pork lard (or oil or ghee), let brown entirely and deeply before rotating bits, continue until all (most) faces of the tail are dark and seared. Now for the next step if you have a pressure cooker (not canner) or an instapot or even a crock pot that would work well, time will vary hugely depending on what method you choose, you could also use that big ol pot and keep things bubbling slowly all day long over a low simmer. I rocked the pressure cooker and it saved a ton of time.
Place seared tail bits into pot and add 2 yellow onions chopped, 8 small – medium tomatoes, 4 cloves of garlic, 2″ of ginger minced, a tbps tumeric, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1 tbsp garam masala, 2 tbsp vindaloo paste, 1 tsp cayanne, 1 tsp chili, and 1 tsp salt.
Cook for a couple hours then remove the tail bits.
To your pot add 1 can of coconut milk and blend until tomatoes bits and onions are tiny and smooth then add 3 large potatoes cubed, and 2 cups of frozen or fresh peas. Now comes the fun part… When the ox tail is cool enough to handle start pulling the juicy meaty bits off the bone and put it back into the pot. Give your dog a bone and get the curry cooking again until the potatoes are cooked through. Before serving add a good amount of freshly grated ginger, and a handful of chopped cilantro. Serve over rice and dig in. I promise you will be blown away at just how tender tail meat is.