Cookery Book Author, Culinary Historian and Independent Food Consultant and Trainer in Anglo-Indian Cuisine

January 8, 2009


The word “Steak” is derived from an Old Norse word “steik” meaning “roast”. It is a continental dish, popular all […]

The word “Steak” is derived from an Old Norse word “steik” meaning “roast”. It is a continental dish, popular all over the world, served in restaurants and  Steakhouses  with or without various accompaniments such as Potatoes, Vegetables, etc.

Steak is actually a slice of meat such as Beef or Lamb from the most tender cuts of the animal such as the short loin, sirloin and rib areas with names such as Porterhouse, T-bone, Rib-eye, etc. It is cut on a slant, perpendicular to the muscle fibres, so that it can cook fast. The steaks cut from these parts are quite tender and range in thickness between half to one inch and are cut in a size intended to be one serving per person. Steaks from the short loin, rib, and sirloin are best when grilled or broiled / pan-fried. Steaks can also cut from the chuck, round, plate, and flank. However these are a bit tough if not cooked properly. However they should be marinated for a few hours then cooked.

Steaks are typically grilled, but they are also often pan-fried or broiled, using dry heat, and served whole.The meat should be a bright red, the fat should be a creamy white and there should be thin streaks of fat running through the meat. Grilling makes it usually dry where as cooking or broiling it in a pan would make it more juicy. The perfect steak needs the right flavors, and different steak cuts are prepared differently. The amount of time a steak is cooked is a personal preference. The shorter the cooking time, the more juice is retained. The longer the cooking time would result in drier, tougher meat. A vocabulary has also evolved to describe the degree to which a steak is cooked such as Raw, Blue rare or Very Rare, Rare,  Rare, Medium Rare Medium, and Well done.

Steak was first introduced in India by the British as early as the 16th Century. As was the case of almost all of our cuisine, which started out as insipid concoctions, in the days of the British Raj, the original “Beef Steak” introduced by them was quite bland and tasteless. Over the years many more ingredients and spices were added to this dish to make it more spicy and delicious as it is today.  It has become synonymous with Anglo-Indian Cuisine, as our famous Anglo-Indian Pepper Steak and Anglo-Indian Masala Steak,.These dishes are relished by all of us and I’m sharing the recipes for them below.  So let your steaks sizzle the old fashioned way in a skillet or heavy fry pan. However, the steaks could be grilled if desired using the same ingredients.



Serves 6      Preparation Time 45 minutes

1kg Beef Undercut or Sirloin cut into steaks      

1 teaspoon turmeric powder     

3 or 4 teaspoons fresh pepper powder   

3 tablespoons oil                       

2 big onions sliced finely                        

2 big tomatoes chopped            

3 potatoes peeled                  

Salt to taste

Wash the meat well and marinate it with the pepper powder, salt and turmeric powder in a flat plate. Pour the oil on top and keep it over night in the refrigerator (or for at least 4 hours before cooking), Pressure cook for just 5 minutes or cook in a pan for about 15 minutes along with the potatoes. Add the onions and tomatoes and continue frying on low heat till the tomatoes turn pulpy and the steaks and the potatoes are a nice brown colour. Serve hot with boiled vegetables and bread.


Serves 6     Preparation Time approx 1 hour


1 kg boneless Mutton or Beef from the Round portion cut into steaks

2 medium size onions sliced                 

2 medium potatoes sliced

2 cups water                                          

Salt to taste

3 tbsp Oil                                               

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon  garlic paste                         

2 teaspoons coriander powder

1 teaspoons cumin powder                    

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon pepper powder

Heat the oil in a large, wide pan .Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes. Remove half the quantity of onions and keep aside. Add the meat and stir-fry for 10 minutes until the pieces turn brown. Reduce heat to medium and add all the other ingredients except the potatoes. Mix well. Add the water and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes and salt to taste. Stir and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked. Now add the pre fried onions and mix well into the Steak

Article written by Bridget White-Kumar
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