Tangy and chilli Kerala beef fry

May 26, 2011

I am back at work. Six months with Micro Mini Basu just flew. He is now ready for university. Well. One can hope.

Seriously though, I am really enjoying motherhood.

It’s just that two closely-timed pregnancies later, I was beginning to go funny. You know. Saying things like “Don’t lick the floor”. Swinging from side to side sans baby. Counting the hours until a large glass of ice cold wine

So how does it feel to be back at work? Wonderful. Monday to Thursday is a long weekend compared to the chaos of home. Uninterrupted cups of tea. Trips to the loo. Adult conversation. Shame it’s so hard to say goodbye to the bundles in the morning!

On the quick Indian cooking front, I haven’t been great have been pathetic on the blogging front. Behind the scenes, however, I have been hard at work perfecting a “quick” version of a tangy chilli Kerala beef fry. My friend Boobie fell in love with this recipe at her last trip to India and we’ve been at it ever since!

The trick to this recipe is to either slice thin beef steaks very finely and stir fry everything in a wok. Or to cook cubes of boneless beef/lamb/goat in a pressure cooker until they are virtually falling apart.

With the coconut, I nabbed a fresh coconut in my local grocer, smashed it open and grated and froze the flesh. Two months ago… I really recommend saving a stash in your freezer if you don’t have access to the fresh stuff. Dessicated coconut is a very poor distant cousin of the real stuff.

So here it is. A fresh new start for a fiery classic. Let’s hope it works for you and me!!



Feeds 2:

  • 350gm thin beef steaks
  • 50gm fresh grated coconut
  • 1 medium onion
  • Half tsp fennel powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Half tsp chilli powder
  • 4 whole red chillies
  • 20 -30 fresh or freshly frozen curry leaves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 4 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste



If using frozen coconut, take it out of the freezer first. Slice the beef steaks very thin and chop the onion into small pieces. If using boneless chunks of meat, cut them into small bite-sized pieces. Peel and finely chop the ginger and garlic.

In a medium sized wok, bring the oil to heat over a high heat. When it starts sizzling, add the onions, ginger and garlic, chillies and curry leaves and fry until the mixture turns golden in colour. This will take 5-10 minutes.

Next, toss in the beef with all the spice powders and fry on a high heat until the meat is cooked and turns a rich dark shade. Now stir in the coconut, tamarind and when it’s mixed through with the beef, add 2-3 tablespoons of warm water and simmer until it is absorbed. Add salt to taste and eat straightaway curled into hot rotis.

If using a pressure cooker, pressure cook on high for one whistle and at least 25 minutes on low. Don’t add the coconut or tamarind until after the meat is cooked.



36 Responses to “Tangy and chilli Kerala beef fry”

  1. Arivoukodi Says:

    June 8th, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Hi Malika,

    I have tried this recipe, it came very well and everybody in my home loved this dish, thanks for the blog keep posting.

  2. Sam Says:

    February 8th, 2018 at 1:28 am

    Hi Mallika:
    I tried your recipe from the Standard and it was absolutely delicious. This one seems to taste a little different but good nevertheless. Maybe the beef cut was different. What do you recommend?
    To all the fanatics who have written comments. Eat what you like but do not put labels on others.
    Thanks Mallika for providing us with a range recipes for all of us.

  3. sana Says:

    February 28th, 2017 at 11:05 am

    hey malika! really great blog you have there ! by seeing your recipes i’m starting to love your recipes keep up the good work πŸ™‚ by the way take a look at this site this site has many recipes of indian and pakistani and they have the best beef recipes ummmm yummy πŸ™‚

  4. King Kerala Says:

    April 23rd, 2016 at 10:29 am

    @divya Grow up you infantile fool. Cows are simply meat just as chicken, pork, fish etc are. If you eat one animal you can eat them all. To separate one from the others due to some perverse superstition is the very definition of stupidity.

    Here’s a hint – if you don’t like a recipe, don’t make it, and never, ever tell others what they can’t eat. In short, keep your brain dead opinions to yourself.

    Hi King Kerala – Bravo, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Please come back to tell off any other stupid commentators (99% are lovely). M x

  5. Li Thotomist Says:

    September 7th, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Your Beef Fry recipe in The Standard has no quantity in the Ingredients for the coconut you use in the method!

  6. Mallika Says:

    February 7th, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Ha ha, thanks Ann. I agree with you. xx

  7. ann Says:

    February 7th, 2015 at 2:18 am

    Geez, I just read this! Divya needs a personality implant and possibly a good feed of protein, maybe beef?

  8. Mallika Says:

    July 13th, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Hi Divya, not all Indians are Hindus. That’s all. Thank you.

  9. Divya Says:

    June 22nd, 2014 at 7:31 am

    And to all you ‘Hindus’ on this page, who are praising her beef recipe, shame to you idiots and low-lives.

  10. Divya Says:

    June 22nd, 2014 at 7:31 am

    This woman should be extremely ashamed of herself for calling her recipes ‘REAL Indian cooking’ and calling herself a ‘Hindu’. She is so shameful that she is eating beef. Even chicken, mutton would have been fine, but she eats beef and probably teaches her poor children the same.

    All I would say is, change the title of your site, and stop calling yourself a Hindu, for you are no where near being a Hindu. You are quite a disgrace to Hinduism and Indian cooking, in fact. Too bad you are wasting your cooking talent by being as shameful as you are. It is too bad.

  11. Rose Says:

    October 18th, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Old post, but I made this tonight and it was delicious. I wrote the recipe down on a card and will make it again.

  12. healthy cooking oil Says:

    February 11th, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I loved South Indian dishes the specialty in South Indian they always use coconut in every dishes. That’s make their dishes so yummy…

  13. Somerset wedding gal Says:

    February 7th, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Glad you’re back! I laughed at your description of a slightly frantic motherhood, thanks for that πŸ™‚ The recipe looks incredibly tempting…

  14. Nazlah Says:

    January 18th, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I tried this with Chicken and it was DElish!

  15. Wok wonderful « microgirlreviews Says:

    January 8th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    […] Source: […]

  16. Wok wonderful | Cooking Technology Says:

    January 4th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    […] Source: […]

  17. Ankan Says:

    November 3rd, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    good information..

  18. Shefali D Says:

    September 27th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Yay…happy to report that my initial attempt wasn’t a complete disaster. The quest continues πŸ™‚

  19. Shefali Dinkar Says:

    September 26th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I am so attracted to the image used here…indeed, a picture speaks a thousand words πŸ™‚ Good work.

  20. Candace Says:

    September 12th, 2011 at 10:59 am

    From the looks of it, it sure taste great! I got hungry the minute I found it! Many thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes. People like you are sure to be blessed πŸ™‚

  21. Jaideep Dargan Says:

    September 1st, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Great recipe. Would you recommend marinating the thin beef slices in anything beforehand? (I’ll try it and let you know!)

  22. the-mommie Says:

    July 29th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Hi there. Popped by purely by accident and then was hooked. You do a great job here and this recipe is one I’ve been trolling for on the web for a while! So thank you! It now has pride of place on my ‘to be made after the next grocery trip’ list now. πŸ™‚

  23. Carrie Says:

    July 8th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I made this for dinner last night, it was absolutely delicious. I love the flavor of the coconut.

    Can’t wait to try some of your other dishes!

  24. alison Says:

    June 6th, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    hurrah! glad you are back, i’ve missed you xx

  25. Mallika Says:

    June 6th, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks everyone.

    Ritika – so pleased you like it!!

    My bad Malayali I made a mistake in the subtitle. Thanks for stating the bleeding obvious. I’ve made the amend now…

  26. Malayali Says:

    June 6th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Keralan is not a word.
    It’s either Malayali or Keralite or when it comes to cooking, you just use Kerala as an adjective. For example, this dish is just Kerala chilli beef fry.

  27. ritika Says:

    June 6th, 2011 at 7:10 am

    celebrated your homecoming of sorts… tried the recipe and it was fabulous :), a big hit.

  28. ritika Says:

    June 3rd, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    you are backm and this looks delish πŸ™‚

  29. BongMom Says:

    June 2nd, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    You back to the grind and loving it ? Good for you. You should now make Bheja fry

  30. Wendy Says:

    June 1st, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Hooray! You’re back! Very glad to “see” you indeed. xx

  31. Mary Says:

    May 31st, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Yay! Missed your posts very much. But have managed to get by in the interim by exploring your excellent cookbook. Happy to hear that motherhood is agreeable. And really happy to try your latest recipe! Yum.

  32. Ann Says:

    May 30th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Mallika! Lovely to hear your voice! I just ordered another copy of your book for a friend. Can’t wait to try this new recipe. xxx

  33. Jane - Kitchen Stools Direct Says:

    May 30th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Welcome back to blogworld. I have been waiting to try more of your super special Indian recipes, and this Beef Fry looks teasingly appetising. Can’t wait to try it. Fresh coconut is what adds amazing flavour to Kerala curries. Thanks for this, and once again, welcome back!

  34. chinmayie@lovefoodeat Says:

    May 28th, 2011 at 3:18 am

    Hey Mallika! Great to see your new post! I have checked your blog a hundred times in the last 4 months!
    I have been a regular visitor for a very long time and just wanted to tell you that I LOVE your recipes!! I am vegetarian so I can’t try ALL your recipes but I have cooked your butter chicken and it’s a HUGE hit!!!
    Thank you πŸ™‚

  35. sulagna Says:

    May 27th, 2011 at 5:33 am

    good to have you back Mallika πŸ™‚ the recipe looks teasing, must try, dont know how would imli and coconut change the flavors , m sue it would be a burst of flavors though.

    good luck on the job front and keep having fun !!

  36. Pooja Says:

    May 26th, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I missed hearing from you! To quote a stoic fellow- Live long and prosper! πŸ™‚

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