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Bevashen’s Winning Curry-Braised Shortribs



Bevashen’s Winning Curry-Braised Shortribs

Bevashen Naidoo's winning lamb dish. Photo: Clinton Friedman

The Long and the Short of It! (with exclamation mark!) is how this dish was described on Bevashen Naidoo’s menu for the 2018 Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge for South Africa’s “Most Up & Coming” chefs. It blew away the judges, winning this 23-year-old from Verulam the award for the most delicious main course of the competition, and shattering the myth that fine-dining and Durban curry are incompatible.

It was high-risk,” says his mentor, Shaun Munro, Executive Chef of Southern Sun’s Elangeni and Maharani hotels on Durban’s beachfront strip. Which are all about casual eating and conference banqueting, not a starry restaurant on the premises. “Taking curry to a chefs’ competition! But we made it sophisticated.”

This, on the day, included all sorts of chefification: making a pillow of bolo rillettes, topping with a cloud of pulled bolo floss, and accompanying with “a study of corn”, meaning mealies three different ways. But it wasn’t the trimmings which did the business. “Flavour and balance always rule supreme,” says Shaun. “And honestly, that Durban curry mix: it just sings!”

Bevashen says he was “stunned” when his dish triumphed. (Not, reportedly, as amazed as his mother and gran, who argue over who is the best cook in the family but agree that it is not Bevashen.) We say the judges, and seasoned talent-spotter Shaun, were right. Keep an eye on this rising star. And do try this simplified, shortened version of his prize dish.

It’s curry flying first-class.

4 beef shortribs (French-trimmed)
Ground black pepper
120ml olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
50g ginger, chopped
8 curry leaves
5 fresh red chillis, chopped
30ml biryani spice mix
30ml Durban masala (medium)
5ml turmeric
15ml coriander powder
15ml cumin powder
15ml garam masala

Mirepoix: 180g carrots, 220g onion, 90g celery, 100g leeks, 12 thyme sprigs, all finely chopped

30ml tomato paste
250ml red wine
250ml white wine
5L water

Preheat oven to 160°C. Season shortribs with salt and pepper. Heat pan on high, add 60ml olive oil, seal off/brown shortribs. Remove sealed shortrib, foil-wrap bone tips, set aside.

Add rest of oil to pan and sauté onions until translucent. Add ginger and garlic, curry leaves, chilli, biryani mix and spices to the sautéed onions. Cook for 30 secs. Add mirepoix and stir until well coated. Add tomato paste, wines, and deglaze pan. Simmer for 5 mins, then place mixture into a roasting tin. Add shortribs, and water to cover. Seal roasting pan tightly with two layers of heavy-duty foil. Roast in oven for 2 hrs.

Remove cooked shortribs from braising liquid. Strain this liquid and keep aside.

Sweet corn mash
600g frozen cut corn

1 medium onion, chopped

100ml cream

100ml milk

50g butter


Preheat oven to 160° C. Spread frozen sweet corn evenly in an oven tray. Dehydrate in oven for 20mins. Sauté butter and onion in a pan until translucent. Add dehydrated sweet corn, sauté for 10 mins more. Add cream, milk. Simmer another 10 mins. Blitz until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve, correct seasoning.

Curry Gravy

15ml honey

60ml red wine

500ml reserved curry braising stock

Bring honey, red wine and stock to the boil in a pan. Turn down heat, simmer until mixture is reduced to a thick gravy. Pour into a small jug and serve with meat and sweet corn mash. DM


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