Caribbean Oxtail Curry from the Instant Pot™
Rich, satisfying Caribbean oxtail curry is a dish that’s good for your heart and soul. Enriched with coconut milk and exotic spices, it fills the kitchen with an intoxicating aroma. Best of all? Prepared in the Instant Pot™, it can be properly prepared on even the busiest days.
Tastes and smells are the stuff dreams and memories are made of. It is all too easy to forget that the pleasure of food begins with its fragrance.
When you catch a whiff of warm spices in the air, it inevitably transports you to a safe, cozy place. Perhaps memories of Mom’s or Grandma’s kitchen flood your mind. Or, perhaps, the memory of a wonderful vacation pops into your head. Either way, cooking with spices is not just good for your body, it also nurtures your spirit.
In our rush, rush modern world, it’s important to take time to appreciate these tiny pleasures. So, I hope that as you prepare this oxtail curry, you will take the time to enjoy the experience just as much as your family enjoys the meal.
Yes indeed. Recently, I’ve been excited to see chefs and home cooks taking a new interest in “old-fashioned” cuts of meat that require long braising or pressure cooking. Oxtail, shanks, and short ribs are all returning to supermarket shelves and every day kitchens.
Nonetheless, if you’ve never tried oxtail before, you may be wondering what it is and why on earth anyone would want to eat it. Well, oxtail is exactly what it sounds like. It is the skinned tail of a cow, which is trimmed and cut into sections about 5 cm (2 inches) wide. Each section has a marrow bone at the centre and is surrounded by bits of meat and connective tissue. Oxtail is very rich in gelatine and requires a long, slow cook so that the meat literally falls off the bone.
Traditionally, oxtail was among the least expensive cuts of meat. It was seen as an off-cut and an inconvenience. This was largely due to the long cooking time required. However, in recent years, as prominent chefs have recognised the importance of preparing and eating every part of the animal, it’s price has gone up. This is because — as all who’ve grown up eating oxtail will avow — it is actually one of the most delicious parts of the cow.
When properly cooked, oxtail is an unctuous treat. It’s also rich in amino acids, calcium, iron, and other minerals. By cooking oxtail under pressure in the Instant Pot™, we not only save time, we also preserve more of these nutrients and make them more accessible to our bodies. Oxtail is particularly nourishing to the digestive tract, bones, muscles, and connective tissue.
What if I don’t own an Instant Pot™?
No problem. I like to prepare this dish in the Instant Pot™ because of its safety features, and the fact that I can set it and forget it. However, you can prepare oxtail curry using these instructions in a regular pressure cooker. The only difference is that you (or another adult) will need to be at home for the duration of the cooking time.
Does the Curry Powder Have to Be Homemade?
Of course not! As I’ve said in my previous post, I prefer to make my Caribbean curry powder because it gives me greater control over its freshness, flavour and ingredients. However, the reality is that we all have times in our lives where we are simply too busy to prepare homemade spice blends. On those occasions, store bought blends are a lifesaver.
If at all possible, do try to buy a Jamaican curry powder for this dish. If not, taste the curry powder you have on hand for heat and adjust the fresh chilis in your final dish accordingly. Whatever you do, don’t let the curry powder be an obstacle to preparing this delicious soul satisfying oxtail curry. Rather, use what is readily available and get on with it!
Perfect for a Crowd
If you have already scanned the ingredients list, you will realise it calls for a whopping 2 kilograms (5 pounds) of oxtails. While the recipe can easily be halved, I recommend preparing the full recipe, as is. Why?
- Oxtail takes time. If you’re going to bother making oxtail curry, you may as well make a lot. If your family is small, freeze half for another meal. Oxtail curry is always tastier on the 2nd and 3rd day.
- Oxtail curry creates a party. This is they type of dish that’s perfect for feeding a hungry crowd. It’s a festive dish that’s ideal for game day parties or other festive occasions.
- Coconut milk. The recipe calls for exactly one tin of coconut milk. In my experience, stray half tins often go to waste. So, it’s better to make enough oxtail to use the whole tin.
About this Recipe
This is a very easy recipe. The only trick to achieving optimal results is not to skip the browning and sautéing at the outset. I know it takes a little extra time to brown the oxtail, and sauté the aromatics. However, these steps make such a huge difference in the taste of the curry, that it’s worth it to take a little extra time.
If you’re worried about it, try oxtail curry for the first time on a relaxed Sunday afternoon. Put some jazz on the speaker. Pour yourself a glass of wine, and savour the process. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Most of all, I hope your family enjoys this rich, satisfying oxtail curry every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!