PEPPER_STEAK_SANDWICHES_Aarti Paarti_Credit_Matt Armendariz

Aarti’s Pepper Steak Sandwich

Dear Readers,

here is my third recipe for the Lemonade 25 Collaboration, Mummy’s Clove, Cinnamon & Black Pepper Steak SandwichesThe British are fond of their Sunday roasts, but they had a bit of a hard time when they arrived in India, a country where hardly anyone ate beef, and hardly anyone had an oven! And so, the story goes, this is how this stovetop version of roast beef came about. This is based on my grandmother Lucia’s recipe, one so beloved by my mum and her sisters that they still refer to it simply as “Mummy’s Pepper Steak.” It originally involved potatoes; I nixed the potatoes and turned the meat into my version of that great American table staple, the steak sandwich. (If you’re still craving potatoes, check out my Pregnancy Potatoes, on page 128 of my book.)


Aarti Paarti COVER

  • 1 pound sirloin petite roast or sirloin fillets
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into ¼-inch half-moons
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large ripe tomato, sliced into 1-inch wedges
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and soft stems
  • 4 (8- to 9-inch-long) toasted rolls

Slice the sirloin against the grain into ½-inch slices, then flatten the slices with either the back of your knife or a meat mallet until they’re a little over ¼ inch thick. Set aside in a bowl.

Grind the peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon stick in a spice grinder into a fine powder. Tap the spice mixture into a small bowl and add the cayenne, vinegar and 1teaspoon kosher salt, stirring to produce a wet, sand-like paste. Massage this paste onto the beef, making sure that every piece is equally covered, and set aside on a plate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until the onion is softened and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the ginger and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onion turns a soft amber and smells sweet, 4 to 5 minutes.

Arrange the onions in an even layer and place the beef over the onions in an even layer. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the underside has browned slightly and the onions have started releasing their juices.

Stir it all together and cook for a minute more. Add the tomato and cook, stirring every now and then, until the tomato begins to wilt and the skin rolls back from the flesh a little, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the whole thing sit for 5 minutes, so that the tomato can melt a little more and make a light gravy. Add the water and scrape the bottom of the pan to create more gravy. Finish with cilantro and tuck the mixture into the rolls. Serve immediately!

Smoorti Tip: If you’re out of cloves and cinnamon, mix 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper with ½ teaspoon garam masala!

Excerpted from AARTI PAARTI by Aarti Sequeira.

Copyright © 2014 by Aarti Sequeira. Used with permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.