Delicious Veal and Prune Curry

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

A Taste of Dreams

A Taste of Dreams

By Josceline Dimbleby

Published 1976

  • About

It is very satisfying to make a real curry without just throwing in a teaspoon of stale curry powder which always has the same taste. Getting together your own spices is more trouble but the result is quite different and far better, and I think well worth the little extra time and trouble. This fairly mild curry has a really delicious, creamy but fresh flavour and you can get the right spices for it from an Indian shop, a delicatessen or even a large supermarket. Of course if you cannot get one or two of the ingredients do not worry, just put in what you can and I am sure you will be pleased with the result. You do not have to marinate the meat but I think it makes it much better.


For the Marinade

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 2–3 tablespoons oil

For the Curry

  • 4–6 oz prunes – soaked overnight (110–175 g)
  • 2 lb stewing veal (900 g)
  • pinch of mustard seeds

Ground in a Blender or Pounded in a Mortar

  • 1 heaped teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
  • pinch fenugreek seeds
  • 5–10 cardamom pods – roughly crushed
  • 2 large cloves garlic – chopped
  • 2 small pieces cinnamon bark
  • 1–2 slices green ginger – chopped finely. (This is available in good greengrocers and markets as well as in Indian shops.)
  • a few curry leaves if available – chopped
  • 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric
  • ½-1 teaspoon powdered chilli
  • 1 dessertspoon soft brown sugar
  • 1–2 heaped tablespoons creamed coconut
  • ½ pint yoghurt (275 ml) chopped mint leaves, chives or parsley
  • salt


Marinate the meat and soak the prunes overnight. Then get all your spices together ready prepared before you start the curry. Melt a large knob of butter and a tablespoon of oil in a large pan (or cast-iron casserole dish which you can also use to cook the curry in) and gently fry the ground spices, the chopped ginger, the crushed cardamom pods and the curry leaves. Stir in the meat, the turmeric, the chilli powder, the brown sugar, the garlic and the pieces of cinnamon. If you are not already using a cast-iron dish transfer the meat mixture to a casserole dish and pour over ¼–½ pint of stock or water (150–275 ml) – the liquid should almost cover the meat. Add salt to taste. Heat to simmering point either on top of the stove or in a high oven and then cook gently in the middle of the oven at Gas 1–2 (275°–300°F/140°–150°C) for 1½ hours or until the meat is tender. Stone the soaked prunes and add them to the curry. Stir in the creamed coconut which will thicken the juice and make it taste more delicious, and lastly add the yoghurt. If it seems to have gone too cold re-heat briefly, or you can keep it warm in a very low oven until you are ready to eat it. Finally sprinkle the chopped mint leaves or other greenery on top of the curry and serve with Basmati rice and a crisp salad.