Dum Gosht - Beef in Black Pepper

This dish of beef, yoghurt and black pepper is traditionally slow cooked over a gentle open fire - the heavy pot sealed with a ‘rope’ of dough around the lid.

It is generally cooked in the last coals of the fire with the lid covered in hot coals, making it an ideal dish for a cast iron camp oven.

It is essentially a very lightly spiced curry and makes a perfect transition from the kitchen to camping and camp cooking. The origins of this dish began with the Moghuls arrival in India and probably did not originally contain chilli.

The cooking method can be transferred to the household oven and the dough ‘rope’ substituted with alfoil.

The image below shows the cooked gosht and the dough 'rope' -


3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1kg stewing beef cut into 4cm cubes

2 medium brown onions, very finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, very finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground paprika

1 – 2 teaspoons chilli powder

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

300ml plain yoghurt, beaten


Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy pan or the camp oven and brown each piece of meat over a high heat. Don’t overcrowd the pan or allow the meat to ‘stew’. Remove each piece as it browns and set aside.

Add the remaining oil and brown the onions and garlic for about 10 minutes until they show signs of good dark colour without burning.

Reduce the heat to medium and return the meat and juices to the pan and add the paprika, chilli (if used), pepper, ginger and salt. Stir for a minute or two until the meat is coated with the spices.

Add the yoghurt a tablespoon at a time and bring to simmering point.

Remove from heat and cover the pan tightly. Use layers of aluminium foil between the pot and lid to produce a tight seal and bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 2 hours on 150 degrees C. Alternately, cook over a bed of coals in a cooler section of the fire, covering the lid of the camp oven with coals.

Do not disturb the lid or check the dish during this period. After 1 ½ hours remove from the heat and check the tenderness of the meat. The sauce should be very thick and clinging to the meat. If the meat needs further cooking add a little hot water, stir, cover tightly and return to the heat for another half an hour.

Stir gently and serve with rice and naan.

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