Slow braise ox cheek with whole garam masalas

 In Autumn, Beef, Ingredients, Meat, Poultry and Game, Recipes, Slow Cooked, Stews, Winter


As I’ve said many times before I don’t believe it is possible to define Scottish food by a style or a flavour. It’s the produce that this land provides that defines the Scottish cuisine. Scotland is a nation with an eclectic history of settlement, war, invasion and immigration and all of these have imparted product, flavour and technique on the food landscape. Therefore to me this stew of Scottish beef given a traditional long slow cook with whole garam masalas may be steeped in Pakistani flavour and food heritage but can also claim to be Scottish as is Scottish produce cooked in a traditional manner with flavours brought to this country from overseas by those who sought a new life in this country.


Ox cheek with whole garam masalas

Serves two


1 ox cheek of about 400g
1 onion sliced
3 tomatoes finely chopped
0.5 tsp Kashmiri chilli
3 cloves garlic
1.5 tsp fresh ginger
About 300ml water
Heaped tsp methi
Handful fresh coriander
1 green chilli
Juice half a lemon
Vegetable oil
Sea salt

Whole garam masalas

1.5 tsp coriander seeds
1.5 tsp cumin seeds
0.5 tsp nigella seeds
1 star anise
1 black cardamom
6 cloves
Pinch aniseed
1 inch cinnamon stick

To Garnish

Chopped coriander
Green chillis


Heat the oven to 120C. In a heavy bottomed casserole dish brown the onions in a good glug of vegetable oil. Then add the garlic and ginger and cook until the raw smell leaves the pan. Add the tomatoes and Kashmiri chilli and cook down to a paste. Remove the paste from the pan or move to the side.

Season the beef well with sea salt then in another glug of vegetable oil brown the beef on both sides then add the whole masalas and toast until the aromatics start to develop and add the paste back in. Mix well with the garam masalas then pour over the water, mix well then cover.

Slow braise in the preheated oven for 4-5 hours. Remove the beef and shred or chop into chunks. Add in the methi, fresh coriander, chopped green chilli, lemon and beef and stir well. Correct for seasoning with. Serve with the garnishes and rice or tandoori roti.

With thanks to Sumayya Usmani of PukkaPaki for the photographs

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Showing 2 comments
  • Sumayya

    The aromas while cooking this have taken me to a warm fragrant afternoon in my mother’s kitchen. Unbelievable, you have captured the essence of Pakistani cooking in your recipe as if you’ve been doing this all your life. Very impressed. I used chuck as I’m not inclined to ox cheek. But it’s smelling incredible and tasting sublime. Thanks for sharing your well inspired recipe. Followed it exactly except I cooked in one step ie spices and onions cooked in one go and slow cooked on the stove as my oven isn’t reliable!

    • scotslarder

      Thank you so much Sumayya. Wonderful compliment and so glad that you enjoyed it!

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