Slow-cooked Sri Lankan beef curry.
This beef curry recipe is handed down by my grandmother.
An authentic Sri Lankan Moorish-style curried beef recipe.
It’s all about slow cooking the beef in spices and coconut milk, giving it the most delicious texture and taste.
This recipe has been tried by many readers and has never failed them!
So if you are looking for a delicious coconut beef curry to impress your guests,this Sri Lankan meat dish should do it.
Making the best
curry takes a lot of
Before you begin, there’s one thing you should know,
If you want a tasty beef curry, it takes time.
Time to build up the flavors, time for the coconut milk curry sauce to soak up the flavors and time for the beef to turn tender.
This is one of those beef curry recipes that can’t be rushed.
You need at least two hours(rounding up the number here)for the beef to cook into that perfect consistency of tender meat and a thick beef gravy to die for.
It’s why I call it a slow-cooked beef curry.
So if you are planning to serve lunch between 12:30 -1:30 p.m then I would suggest that you at least start at 9:45-10:00 am so that there’s enough stove time for the beef to cook well and reach that perfect thickness.
This is my grand mother’s recipe and it won’t be right if I don’t dedicate a part of this recipe post to her.
These are my words and thoughts dedicated to her in appreciation of all the food she’s made for me throughout the years.
She cooked food that turned into the most delicious meals I’ve ever had the privilege to taste and experience in my youth.
I’m not referring to elaborate dishes, small portioned works of art that seem to be the norm on your screen.
I’m writing about simple home-cooked food that satisfies your soul.
The magic in her hands…..
I used to think, maybe it was magic, the”miris gala”and firewood stove were the tools of her trade.
Her black, seasoned pans were the cauldrons in which her brews were made.
A pinch of that, a dash of this, mixing of ingredients using hands that need no measuring cups.
Homemade spices, hand-squeezed coconut milk were the ultimate ingredients to creating wonderful food that to me, at least was an otherworldly experience.
Maybe it was magic, maybe you needed to be born with a special kind of skill that made people fall in love with food or perhaps it was the fact that her food was simply made with a lot of love and care.
A special kind of love that can only be felt by the wonderful food she cooked.
It was unconditional love through food.
I love her food although I haven’t enjoyed one of her meals for a long time, some of the food here is mostly her influence on me and my memories of enjoying them.
One of the special things she did for me was, always saving a small bowl of her sweet and spicy mango curry.
In a house full of constantly hungry people, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do but she and my mama managed to hide and save a few, mind you, they did this every time she made the dish.
If that isn’t a special kind of love, I don’t know what is.
I want my kids to savor the food I grew up with, I want them to remember tastes, for this purpose, I make sure to create certain dishes with exact tastes I grew up with(at least I try to).
One of her best dishes was this Slow cooked beef curry, I mean it literally is still the best I have ever tasted.
First, she’ll have two large bowls of thick and thin milk prepared, the beef will go into a very large pot with all the spices and cooked over a wood fire stove.
The beauty of this Sri Lankan beef curry is that it’s just so earthy, tender and the spices are balanced to perfection(have I mentioned, I thought she had hands that created magic?)
So here’s a special recipe post dedicated to my grandmother, aachipochi to my kids, the cranky old lady who has a special place in my heart.
Beginner’s tips on
making the Sri Lankan
- Have all the ingredients ready before you start making the beef in coconut curry.
- Choose the best cut of beef to make this Sri Lankan curry. topside, rump steak are some of the choices out there.
- Make sure to cut the meat against the grain.
- Make sure the spices are fresh.
- Do not increase the heat to rush the process of making the beef curry.
- Read how to make thin and thick coconut milk.
- Read the reader’s suggestion below to make the Sri Lankan curry recipe with less coconut milk.
How to make thin and
thick coconut milk for
the beef curry.
Using liquid coconut milk.
Packed liquid coconut milk is always preferable.
For thin milk just add 1/2 cup of the thick milk from the package to 2 and 1/2 cup of water.
For thick milk, use the coconut milk from the package without diluting it with water.
Using coconut milk powder.
To make thin milk add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of coconut powder to 3 cups of water.
To make thick milk add 4 tablespoons of coconut powder per cup water.
Can I cook the beef curry without any coconut milk due to health issues?
You can, one of my readers sent me the method on how to do it, first read the recipe instructions, then come back here to read the method she explained so you have a clear idea.
“so this is what I did….. followed your recipe only didn’t add coconut milk. didn’t make any adjustments to the recipe. followed your step by step.
just closed the lid and as instructed by you cooked on medium heat for about 35 minutes. then checked if there was enough water and added a bit of water to cook until the beef was soft.
once the beef was cooked, opened the lid and put the pot on a very very low flame. so for a healthier option, IIadded water instead of coconut milk. the gravy became thick when I added tamarind”.
about the slow-cooked
“When you refer to tamarind is it the block kind or the straight from a pod? If I use the paste do I reduce the amount? when you call for 1 tablespoon of tamarind, is this the same as 1 tablespoon of paste?”
“When I say tamarind I’m referring to paste which includes the seeds as well, not the block type.
Yes, when I say 1 tablespoon it is both for tamarind block paste or pods. It would be the same quantity.
BUT the tamarind amount mentioned here is for 700g or 1kg beef.
If you are using less meat, say 500g then reduce tamarind paste to 1/2 tablespoon”.
Save the recipe to your favorite Pinterest board!
It’s a one-pot meal, preferably a clay pot would be ideal, if you can’t find one then use a wok.
More beef curry recipes!
Storing– once cooled place in a pyrex dish, cover with a lid, you can use plastic containers but please be aware with all that curry powder, it’s inevitable that these containers will yellow with curry stain. you can refrigerate up to 2 days.
Freezing– once cool, cover the container and freeze. can be kept up to 2 weeks.
Heating-remove from the freezer, let it rest to room temperature, transfer to a cooking pan and warm the curry using slow-medium heat.
Stop food waste by– Usually, I end up with a lot of gravy with all the tender beef pieces missing. you can drop a few eggs and poach them to make a curry version of shakshouka.
Make a Sri Lankan coconut sambol and a few toasted slices of bread with the beef gravy makes a simple breakfast. you can also do a leftover curry.
How to cook the best beef curry.
Watch the short video guide above to help you make the Pineapple curry.
Please make sure to read the recipe instructions carefully to avoid mistakes.
Ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.
500g of good Beef(cut into required size)
2 tablespoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon of tamarind with pods(soaked in 1/2 cup warm water, if you are using tamarind paste, 1 tablespoon)
Salt 1/2-1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
2 large onion finely sliced
2 large green chillies
1 medium-sized tomato chopped(optional)
5-6 tablespoons of oil
A handful of curry leaves
a large piece of pandan leaf
1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
1-2 inch piece of cinnamon
4 slightly bruised Cardamom
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
3 cups of thin coconut milk(how-to make, written above)
1/2 to 1 cup of thick milk(1/2 cup of coconut milk if you want less gravy, 1 cup if you want more gravy)
Before you begin making the beef curry, chop, slice and have all the ingredients ready.
Marinade for the
Place the beef in a large bowl, add chilli powder(2 tbs), turmeric(1tsp), coriander(1and 1/2tbs), curry powder(1 tsp), tamarind juice(1tbs), salt, sugar(1tsp), a few slices of onions, green chillies and tomato(optional)to the beef.
Mix all the ingredients well with the beef until the spices are completely coating them.
Using your hands is preferable but if you are sensitive to red chilli, I would suggest using disposable gloves(you have been warned).
Let the beef marinate for 12-15 minutes.
How to cook the
Place a large pan(a clay pot if you can find one)over a low-medium fire.
Let the pan heat for a few minutes. 1-2 minutes.
Pour in the oil and leave it to heat for a few seconds, then add the curry leaves and pandan leaf, let them cook until they sizzle while releasing their aroma. 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add mustard(1/4tsp), fenugreek(1tsp), onions, green chillies, cinnamon(1-2inch), cardamom(4), ginger and garlic paste(1tbs each).
Follow the given order of adding ingredients, it’s important to maintain low heat so the mustard seeds don’t burn too quickly and turn bitter.
Make sure you are constantly mixing the ingredients and temper until onions turn slightly brown.
Once the tempering is done, add the marinated beef(500g) to it.
Stir and combine all the ingredients in the pan with the beef, increase heat to medium and cook till the liquid from the beef and tamarind turn to a thick sauce. constantly stir.
five minutes later, reduce heat to low and pour in the thin milk(3cups) to the pan.
Cover the pan with a lid(not completely though) and let the beef simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the thin milk is reduced completely. check if the meat is tender before following the next step.
(sometimes it’s just the cut of the meat or the way you cut the meat that will cause the meat to toughen if this happens just add another cup of water and let it simmer longer until the meat is soft).
Pour in the thick coconut milk, remove the lid and let the curry simmer over low heat for a further 20-30 minutes or until the gravy thickens and you will notice dots of oil appear on the surface of the gravy.
Taste and season the gravy if necessary.
Serve warm with your favorite dishes or you can try my Sri Lankan meal plan-1.
Watch the short video guide above to help you make the Pineapple curry. How to cook beef curry. Please don’t forget to rate the recipe on the recipe card so other readers find it helpful and show me your recipe by tagging me #islandsmile178 on Instagram. You might find prepackaged coconut milk available in supermarkets and is preferable for the recipe. if you don’t find them you can use coconut milk powder. To make thin milk add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of coconut powder to 3 cups of water. to make thick milk add 4 tablespoons of coconut powder per cup water. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a percentage from qualifying purchases.
How to marinate the beef.
Made this recipe?
HOW TO MAKE THIN AND THICK COCONUT MILK IF YOU ARE USING COCONUT MILK POWDER.
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 725Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 134mgSodium: 540mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 45g
Watch the short video guide above to help you make the Pineapple curry.
How to cook beef curry.
Please don’t forget to rate the recipe on the recipe card so other readers find it helpful and show me your recipe by tagging me #islandsmile178 on Instagram.
You might find prepackaged coconut milk available in supermarkets and is preferable for the recipe. if you don’t find them you can use coconut milk powder.
To make thin milk add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of coconut powder to 3 cups of water. to make thick milk add 4 tablespoons of coconut powder per cup water.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn a percentage from qualifying purchases.
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