Dinner & Lunch

Indian-Spiced Pepper Steak

Whether you are already a fan of Indian takeout, or are just looking for a new way to cook beef, you’ll love this quick, easy dinner. The secret to its Indian-spiced flavor is a mixture of warm, earthy spices with bright vegetables and hot peppers.


1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds beef flank, skirt or flap (bavette) steak

1 teaspoon (scant 1/3 palm full) coriander seed

1 teaspoon cumin seed

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon black peppercorn

2 teaspoons chili powder (Gebhart’s preferred brand) or 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or pepper sauce

About 1 teaspoon garam masala

About 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 large red onion

1 large bell pepper, red or yellow

2 to 3 (medium to spicy heat level) red or green finger chilies or Serrano peppers

1 inch ginger root

1 small garlic bulb, 5 to 6 cloves

High-temp cooking oil, such as peanut or safflower


A few curry leaves, optional but recommended

Juice of 1 lemon OR a few tablespoons Shaoxing or sherry OR 2 tablespoons vinegar, sherry or apple cider

A handful of cilantro tops, chopped

Traditional Basmati, for serving, optional, recipe follows

Grilled naan, for serving, optional

Mango chutney, for serving

Mumbai Mule, for serving, recipe follows

Traditional Basmati:
2 quarts water

1 1/4 cups basmati rice


Optional aromatics:

5 cardamom pods or 1 black cardamom pod

A small piece cinnamon stick

2 crushed cloves garlic

A few curry leaves

Lavender Simple Syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar 

5 or 6 fresh lavender sprigs 

Cut lime:

Chili powder, for rimming the serving mug


1 1/2 ounces vodka 

1/2 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice 

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 

3 ounces ginger beer 

Lavender sprig and lime wheel, for garnish 


  1. Gather all your ingredients and place around large work area, near stove.
  2. Pat meat dry and cut it into 3 or 4 portions, then thinly slice the meat into strips against the grain of the meat.
  3. Place a small skillet with seeds and peppercorns over medium heat and toast a minute until fragrant. Place in spice mill and grind. Combine with chili powder, garam masala and turmeric. (Ready-ground spices can be substituted but toasted whole seeds and peppercorns that are freshly ground are a little deeper and bigger in flavor.)
  4. Peel and chop red onion. Seed and thinly slice bell pepper. Thinly slice or chop the fresh chili peppers. Seed if you prefer milder food or leave seeds in for extra spicy. Grate or mince ginger and garlic.
  5. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add oil, 2 turns of the pan, and cook beef in single layer to brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Season with salt and remove to platter. Add more oil, another turn of the pan, and add onions and peppers, toss 3 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and curry leaves and toss a minute more. Add beef back to pan, sprinkle in spice blend, toss to combine with peppers and douse with lemon juice, sherry or vinegar. Garnish beef with cilantro. Serve beef with rice or grilled naan, mango chutney and Mumbai Mule.

Optional aromatics:

  1. Bring water (with or without aromatics) to a boil. Add rice and salt and cook in boiling water, 12 minutes. Rinse in strainer using HOT water, drain and remove aromatics if using.

Cut lime:

  1. For the simple syrup: Heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan until sugar is melted. Add lavender and let cool. Store in refrigerator.
  2. For the mule: Run a fresh cut lime over the rim of a copper mug or rocks glass. Place rim of glass upside down into a saucer filled with chili powder to coat the rim. Fill glass with ice. Place vodka, lime juice, turmeric, ginger beer and 1/2 ounce lavender simple syrup into glass. Stir gently and garnish with a lavender sprig and lime wheel.