Garam masala is a blend of spices that you find in most Indian households, and you can easily find the blend in your neighborhood grocery store. This aromatic mixture usually contains black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg and turmeric, and takes chili from ordinary to extraordinary. Serve this flavorful chili with basmati rice, lime wedges, yogurt, and chopped cilantro.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, toast the coriander seeds, chili powder, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, turmeric and black pepper at high heat until they begin to pop and are fragrant. Add the butter and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and scotch bonnet pepper and cook until the garlic is golden.
Add the beef and stir with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps. Cook, stirring, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and the tomatoes, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, lime juice, salt, vinegar and potatoes; increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the beef is tender, 30 minutes. Add the peas, garam masala and cilantro and cook another 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. Remove cinnamon stick, star anise and the scotch bonnet if it is not dissolved before serving.