Aarti Sequeira’s Peanut Fried Steak with Yogurt Turmeric Gravy, as seen on Guy's Ranch Kitchen Season 6.
Recipe courtesy of Aarti Sequeira

Peanut-Fried Steak with Yogurt Turmeric Gravy

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
Chicken-fried steak isn’t a dish I grew up with, but it has become one I love, as I have spent a good deal of time in the mountains of North Carolina. One winter, we were snowed in, with only the food my mother-in-law had squirreled away to subsist on until the road to town was plowed. I found a package of cube steaks in the freezer, and made this classic for the first time! This version combines two of my favorite South Indian classics: “podi,” which is a dry chutney, usually a combination of toasted lentils, chiles and garlic. We sprinkle it on everything! It packs a punch of flavor and texture. (My favorite is made with peanuts.) The second classic? Kadhi, an almost neon-yellow yogurt gravy that my mum would often whip up when we had to throw a light dinner together. We’d ladle this tangy, savory, piquant gravy over fresh basmati rice, and sigh with satisfaction. Together, they serve to wrap this Southern classic in a decidedly South Indian bow… a metaphor for my new identity as a recent transplant to North Carolina!


Turmeric Gravy (Kadhi):

Chicken Fried Steaks:

Peanut Podi (Dry Chutney):


Special equipment:
a deep-fry thermometer
  1. For the turmeric gravy: Whisk the yogurt and 2 cups water together in a large bowl. Add the chickpea flour, salt, serrano pepper and ginger. Stir until well combined and set aside. Warm the oil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant and lightly golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the mustard seeds and cook until popping, about 30 second, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and red chiles. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the curry leaves and turmeric (watch out, the curry leaves will sputter!). Cook another 30 seconds, then remove from heat; immediately pour in the yogurt mixture and stir. Turn the heat down to low, then return the saucepan to the burner and gently bring to a boil, stirring frequently to keep the gravy from burning. Immediately remove from the heat, taste for seasoning and set aside. Garnish with the cilantro.
  2. For the chicken fried steaks: Whisk together the baking soda, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 cup water in a large baking dish. Add the steaks and toss until well covered in the solution. Allow to sit 15 minutes at room temperature while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  3. Set up dredging station: Place 1 cup flour in a resealable plastic bag. In a shallow dish, whisk the buttermilk and eggs together. Buzz the Podi, cornstarch, baking powder, remaining cup flour and 2 teaspoons salt in a food processor until even. Pour into another shallow dish. Set all three up on your counter next to the stove.
  4. Set a wire rack in a sheet pan. Pat the steaks dry and set them on the wire rack. One by one, dredge each steak; using tongs, drop a steak into the flour, coating evenly, then pat off the excess. Lay in the buttermilk mixture and allow the excess to drip off. Finally, coat each side in the peanut chutney-flour mixture. Press the coating firmly into the steak so it sticks. Lay the finished steak back on the wire rack, and repeat with the remaining steaks. If possible, allow to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  6. Divide the oil evenly between two 12-inch cast-iron skillets. Set over medium-high heat. Warm to 350 degrees F.
  7. Line another baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels, and set a clean wire rack on top.
  8. Carefully place 2 steaks, side by side, in each skillet. Cook until chestnut brown, about 3 minutes per side, using two spatulas to flip them. Remove to the paper-towel lined baking sheet, then place in the oven to keep warm while you fry the remaining steaks.
  9. Slice and serve the steaks with gravy ladled over the top or on the side.

Peanut Podi (Dry Chutney):

  1. Set a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the peanuts, and dry roast, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool.
  2. Return the skillet to the heat and add the oil. Tear the curry leaves from the stems, and add the leaves to the oil (watch out, they will splatter). Cook, stirring often, until they turn crisp, about 1 minute. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the cumin seeds and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, then stir in the Kashmir chile powder. Pour onto the plate with the peanuts and allow to cool.
  3. Pour everything into a food processor with a generous sprinkle of salt. Pulse until finely processed; don’t overdo it, or else it will turn into peanut butter! Pour into an airtight jar and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.