Chef-In-Residence

Beef 2 Ways: Making The Best of Cheap Beef

by Edwan S. Photography Faris Ideris on Fri, December 25, 2015

Rising food costs doesn't mean eating is less pleasurable. Here's two ways with cheap cuts of beef - rump and topside - that's friendlier on the wallet but tastes simply superb.

Lots of flavour for half the price!

2015 will probably - unfortunately - be remembered as the year where so many things went up in price for many Malaysians. Eating out is a tad pricier now, but fret not; it's always better (in all ways!) to cook at home anyway. And with a few tips and tricks, home-cooked food can be just as good as restaurant stuff. Here's 2 amazing and affordable ways to make that cheap cut of beef awesome.

First up let's just get this out of the way: steak quality cuts of beef are almost always beyond most of us anyway. As yummy as they are, the truth is there are plenty more cuts that when prepared correctly, is as delicious as a steak-quality cut - but at a cheaper price point.

Rump and topside are two cuts of beef that is commonly found and also way cheaper. How cheap? Well a 100g rib-eye will cost roughly RM35 - RM40 in the supermarket... but 100g of rump or topside will only be around RM10 - RM15. Huge difference there. So without further ado, here's 2 ways to make these cuts taste and feel as good as the real thing.

With the rump, we made an amazing steak that's as beefy, meaty, juicy and delicious as a prime steak.



All you need is cling film and something heavy to bash it with!


That's a meat tenderizer!

We paired that rump steak with a lovely pepper sauce and some fresh vegetables. Go check it out: it's a super quick, easy recipe to follow. Serve it to your family and friends, and they'd swear you're feeding them with top quality beef. It's that good.

Next up, for the topside. For the topside, we're making a comfort food staple: Shepherds Pie. Topside comes from the back of the cow, towards the tail. We paid about RM12 for a roughly 125g of cubed topside. It's lean but delicious. When slow cooked as in this recipe, it transforms the topside from a paupers cut into a dish fit for a King.

You need these items. This is a super simple, cut down recipe, but trust us, the results are amazing:



125g topside beef, cubed/diced

2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1 large onion, roughly chopped

1 can tomatoes

1 can button mushrooms, roughly chopped

Handful of peas

Worcester sauce to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 packet instant mashed potatoes, made according to instructions


That's all you need. Oh and get ready one medium sized baking dish or do two smaller ones, like we did. Let's go!

First of all you need to brown the beef. Browning develops those amazing beefy, meaty flavours that will give this pie it's BITE! So just get a pan with about a spoonful of oil in it really hot and chuck the beef in.



Once the beef is browned, add in the onions and carrots. You can also add leeks or celery if you like. Cook the onions and carrots until slightly softened.



Now add the mushrooms in. Mushrooms pair really well with beef. Mushrooms are umami-rich, so having them playing along with beef just adds to the savoury deliciousness of this Shepherds Pie.



Cook for about 5 minutes, then chuck in the canned tomatoes. We're using canned tomatoes because they're always picked at the peak of their ripeness. So it's full on tomato flavour, which not coincidentally, also brings out the umami flavours of beef AND mushrooms.



Crush the tomatoes and bring it to boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. At this point, add in the flavour bombs: dried basil, chilli flakes and Worcester sauce. Give it a stir, then simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is thick and sticky.



Let it cool for a bit, then spoon into your baking dish(es).



Don't forget the peas. They add a welcome sweetness and burst of freshness to the pie.



To top the pie we're using instant mashed potatoes because hello! Convenience! Feel free to make your own mashed potatoes from scratch though. If you want, stir in some grated cheddar cheese into your mash. That'll be amazing. But we're using just regular mash here. It's all good. Just spread it evenly on your pie(s).



Once the potatoes are evenly spread, use a fork to make streaks in it. This will crisp up in the oven nicely, adding a wonderful textural contrast to the pie.



Now all that's left to do is to bake it in a pre-heated oven. About 15 minutes at 190 degrees celsius would do just fine thank you.



Once the pies are done, presto! You're good to go. Enjoy it while it's hot, though we have to say it'll taste even better kept overnight in the fridge.



So there you go! Two ways with beef, and guess what? Each of these recipes costs less than RM20 to make. So who's saying that you can't eat well even on a budget? We're always here to prove to you that eating good can be wallet friendly. Enjoy your cheap - but DELICIOUS - beefy meals!

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