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Ispetti - Spicy Beef Stew

Yes, the Jews in India ate beef!

People always asked this question, how did the Jews eat meat in India? Do they not eat cows in India?

Indeed, is true that the cow is a sacred animal in the Hindu religion, but the Jews had no restriction. The Jews of Cochin maintained their religion with extraordinary piety and at the same time they lived in good neighborliness with the other communities. One of the famous villages is called Chandamangalam, where my grandparents came from. This village was a symbol of religious tolerance and respect. It had 4 houses of worship located 1 Km away from each other, situated at the corners of a square: the Jewish synagogue, a Christian church, a Hindu temple and a Muslim mosque. Historical lore tells us that this is the only place in the world where you could simultaneously hear the blowing of the shofar, the ringing of the church bell, the blowing of the Hindu shell and the call of the muezzin in complete harmony and without disturbing each other.

So yes, the Jews of Cochin ate meat and especially on holidays, when the slaughterer came from one village to another, allowing them to prepare for the holiday.

The Ispetti is usually eaten with white rice or yellow rice, but the best will be to eat it with dosa or appam, dipped into the sauce and enjoy.

The Ispetti stew is a long-cooked meat stew. It is important to select a good piece of meat that is intended for this purpose. this will ensure that stew will be soft and tender.

Tip: each recipe that include ground coriander, use a high-quality powder. It is highly recommended to buy whole seeds, lighten them a little in a pan and then grind them in a coffee grinder. The taste and aroma are worth the effort. You can keep the ground spice in an airtight box for a long time.


1.5 kg of beef

2 onions

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 hot green pepper

5-6 ripe red tomatoes

2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste

1 tablespoon of vinegar

1 tablespoon tamarind paste (optional)


1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander powder

5-6 tablespoons of sunflower oil

  1. Cut the meat into small cubes and dry well

  2. Slice the onion, pepper and garlic into thin strips

  3. Chop the tomatoes into small cubes

  4. Heat oil in a wide pot

  5. Add the meat cubes and lightly fry until golden, remove and set aside in a bowl

  6. Add the onion to the same pot and fry until it starts to turn golden

  7. Add the garlic and hot pepper and continue to fry

  8. Add the dry spices and fry a little longer while stirring to release the aroma from the spices

  9. Add the meat cubes back to the pot

  10. Add the tomatoes, mix well and bring to a boil

  11. Add the tomato paste, tamarind paste and vinegar and mix well

  12. Lower the heat to a very low flame and cook for about two hours (or more) until the meat becomes very soft

  13. It is very important to mix occasionally

  14. If you want, you can upgrade the stew and add potato cubes

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