Carpetbag Meat (Low Fat)

I discovered a ‘Carpetbag Steak’ recipe when browsing through an old cookbook from my personal library. I was fascinated by the concept of stuffing steaks or fillets and skewering or suturing them with cotton thread before grilling or broiling. But the stuffing that is used in these recipes is not the norm in Tamil kitchens, because we do not combine meat with shellfish (mussels or oysters). So, I use a spicy vegetarian stuffing to add flavour to the carpetbag meat.

Carpetbag Meat 1 - Kalas Kalai

Carpetbag Meat

The skewers or toothpicks used in most recipes to hold the meat together do not work with homecut flat meat pieces, and suturing only tears the meat pieces. Therefore I tie the meat pieces with the unstarched cotton string which I use for trussing roast chicken.

Nutritive Value

Most meat recipes are both high protein and high fat. I have modified this recipe to make it high protein but with very little fat to suit those on low fat diets who may otherwise have to avoid rich meat dishes. The beef used here gives around 22 g of very high quality protein per 100 g of meat.


  • ½ kg Undercut Beef in one piece
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 T flavourless Vegetable Oil

For the stuffing

  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 3 Green Chillies, deseeded and diced
  • 3 cm piece Ginger, grated
  • 6-8 Garlic Cloves, diced
  • ½ C Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
  • ¼ C Mint Leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Salt, or to taste
  • ½ tsp Pepper Powder

Unstarched cotton string, cut into 15 cm lengths, for tying the meat.


  1. Preheat the oven to 220 °
  2. Mix all the ingredients listed under stuffing.
  3. Trim the beef off any fat.
  4. Cut the beef into flat, 1 cm thick and 15 cm squares.
  5. Lay the stuffing on one half of the square.
  6. Fold the other half over.
  7. Lay two strings under the folded meat, 2-3 cms from the top and bottom.
  8. Tie each string and make a knot to keep the stuffing in place (creating the carpet bags).
Carpetbag Meat 2 - Kalas Kalai

Front Row (Left to Right): Stuffing, folded, and tied. Rear Row: Tying the carpetbag

  1. Spread the oil in a baking tray.
  2. Arrange the carpet bags in rows in the tray.
Carpetbag Meat 3 - Kalas Kalai

Carpet bags arranged in a baking tray.

  1. Sprinkle salt over the pieces.
  2. Broil in the top shelf of the oven for 1-1 ½ hours.
Carpetbag Meat 4 - Kalas Kalai

Placing the tray in the top shelf of the oven.

  1. Halfway during broiling, turn the bags over for even cooking. Reduce the temperature to 200 °
  2. When the meat is cooked, remove from oven and cool.
  3. Snip and remove the strings before serving.
  4. Serve along with Egg Fried Rice with Vegetables, Mushroom and Capsicum Pulav or Peas Pulav.


  1. The carpetbag steak recipes call for fillets or steaks. In India it is very difficult to find beef to these specifications. Therefore I use undercut beef which I cut into flat pieces. Additionally, undercut meat is very tender and when broiled to well done stage, it retains its tenderness.
  2. You can drizzle oil over the carpetbags before broiling if you wish to have a richer flavour, but this will increase the fat content.
  3. You can tenderise the meat by pounding it before placing the stuffing.

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