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Keralan Beef Curry

Introduction & method

There are some religions in India that do not allow the eating of beef, but others do permit it and beef-eating is very common in the southern state of Kerala. This beef curry from Kerala is rich with the tang of tamarind, the fruitiness of tomatoes and the creaminess of coconut. It's just brilliant.

Keralan Beef Curry Recipe


Top and tail, peel, slice and dice the onion. If you can't find ginger garlic paste, make your own by mincing two or three cloves of garlic and a 2cm (one inch) chunk of ginger. Pass the back of a chef's knife over them a few times to blend into a paste. Chop the tomatoes if you have whole ones, and slice the chillies if you are using those.


Melt the coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. When it's hot, add the curry leaves, mustard seeds and fennel seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop add the diced onion and the salt. Cook on low heat for five to ten minutes until the onion is softened but not browned. Add the ground spices, the ginger garlic paste, the tamarind paste and the sliced chillies. Cook those for a few minutes then add the diced beef and stir well to get it coated all over. Cook it for another five minutes then add the chopped tomatoes and the coconut milk. Stir well.


The beef needs to be cooked until tender, and there are three ways you can do this. You can continue cooking, covered, on a low heat the stove-top or in a low oven for 3½ hours. Check it occasionally to make sure it's not drying out - add more water or coconut milk if it is. Or if you are in a hurry you can transfer everything to a pressure cooker and give it 20-30 minutes under pressure. Your third option is to use a slow cooker / crockpot and give it 6-8 hours.

Finish and Serve

At the end of the cooking time, taste the curry and make any adjustments you think are necessary - seasoning, heat level, coconuttiness etc. The sauce should be fairly thick - if it is too runny, turn up the heat and let it reduce and thicken. Add some chopped coriander at the end. Serve with rice or naan bread.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Keralan Beef Curry on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 500 grams stewing beef
 400 grams can of tomatoes
 250 ml coconut milk
 2 tbsp coconut oil
 1 large red onion
 1 tsp mustard seeds
 1 tsp fennel seeds
 1 tsp turmeric
 1 tsp mild chilli powder
 1 tsp garam masala
 2 tsp ground coriander
 1 tsp salt
 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
 1 tbsp tamarind paste
 1 tbsp curry leaves
 2 small green chillies
  fresh coriander

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 4 - 6
Prep time: 5 minutes.
Cooking time: 3 hours 30 minutes.
Total time: 3 hours 35 minutes.