Beef pickled in Kerala style – The traditional Christian style erachi achar. The most appetizing and mouthwatering form of eating meat that is soaking in spices and oil.
People in the rest of the world boast of beef dishes and jerky. But their jaws drop when they find Kerala cow boys have been catering to the needs of the carnivores (people) with indigenous fresh and dry meat (unakkal erachi) a k a beef jerky since ages. Partly because the West thinks India is filled only with vegetarians. Sadly, now all those boys have moved to the Gulf in search of greener pastures and the TN boys have taken over from them to supply.
Kerala, the melting pot has accepted carnivores of all faiths since the time of seafarers. Allowed them to cook meat to their liking without much taboos which has resulted in some of the most sort after delicacies. Out of many dishes that mingled with the local cuisine beef delicacies ruled the roost. It went on to become the emotion of a raw Malayali.
When it comes to Beef pickle, it is made with the sun dried variety and it is kept in room temperature submerged in oil for long periods. The sun dried variety is always stocked but when it is not available then it is taken care of by frying the meat to perfection that’s the method we have done here.
How to cut beef into small pieces for making beef pickle?
Buying a large piece of meat and slicing it yourself is much economical.Alternatively ask store’s meat dept butcher to cut it into small cubes (smaller than stew size) .
If you are going to cut the meat at home then remember if it is not frozen well then freeze for 20-30 minutes until slightly firm on touch. This gives a firm grip to hold while cutting , gives similar sized pieces and cooks uniformly later. Use a serrated knife or kitchen shears for best results and cut into even cubes ( about 2 cm).
Place a damp newspaper or paper napkin under the cutting board to avoid it from sliding away and helps clean up too easier. If the meat is frozen then do not thaw the meat entirely instead start working when it is still slightly firm as stated above. Test if the knife is sliding in well first (do not apply too much force it will shred the meat)
Beef -1 lb (choose lean cut) I like sirloin
Vegetable oil / sesame oil / coconut oil-3-4 tbsp
Ginger – 1 inch piece+ 1 inch piece (crushed)
Garlic -3 pods (slit into 2 if big cloves)
Vinegar – 3 tbsp
(Some people like a little meat masala and fennel powder both 1/2 or so I have not added here)
The pickle should stay good for a month on the counter in room temperature if it is put properly( without any moisture content in beef or spices used)
***Note: If beef is not fried well till it becomes crisp (not burnt) the pickle will get spoilt fast.
How to check if beef is fried well? If u take a piece in ur hand it should feel hollow like a fried bread piece. If u bite into it it should be crispy and not soft inside.