This Sri Lankan beef curry is so easy to make and delicious too!
My wife and I learned to make this Sri Lankan beef curry at a little restaurant called Inspire in Habarana, Sri Lanka.
It was so good and luckily, the owners offered not only to give us the recipe but to let us make it at the restaurant.
You can see the video below in the recipe. If you like a good beef curry, this authentic Sri Lankan beef curry is one you have to try.
Simple but the flavours just work!
There aren’t many ingredients in this Sri Lankan beef curry. This is simple food at its best, relying on the freshness and quality of ingredients more than a crazy amount of ingredients.
We found this to be the case at most places we ate in Sri Lanka.
As we were in Sri Lanka, real Sri Lankan cinnamon was used. This isn’t always easy to come by but you can get it online and it’s worth doing. The cinnamon breaks up easily and flavoured the dish so much better than cinnamon cassia which is much easier to find in the west. Use that if you must though.
Which cut of beef?
You should use stewing steak for this as it’s cheaper and has a lot of flavour. The problem with stewing beef is that it takes longer to cook and become tender.
If you are in a rush, you could use a more expensive cut like sirloin or rib-eye but I really do recommend planning and using the cheap stuff.
Step by step photos…
All over Sri Lanka, coconut oil is the oil of choice for cooking.
You could use another cooking oil but coconut oil imparts delicious flavour. It is a must if you want that authentic Sri Lankan beef curry flavour.
About those fenugreek seeds…
One thing we learned while in Sri Lanka is that on top of adding a good flavour, fenugreek seeds are used as a sauce thickener.
This was totally new to me. It just doesn’t seem possible but as they cook, the actually thicken the sauce.
If you like this Sri Lankan beef curry, try some of these Sri Lankan favourites too…
- 900g (2 lbs) stewing beef, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 generous tsp ground cumin
- 1 generous tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder or another of choice
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 x 5cm ( 2 inch) real cinnamon stick, broken up.*
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced (approx. 2 generous tbsp)
- 5cm (2 inches) leek, thinly sliced
- 15 fresh or frozen curry leaves
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- Place the beef in a mixing bowl and add the cumin, chilli powder, black pepper, salt and broken up piece of real cinnamon.*
- Mix well with your hands so that the meat is equally coated and then pour in 250ml (1 cup) of water. Stir it all up and set aside to marinate for a few minutes or even overnight. The longer the better.
- When ready to cook the curry, heat the oil over medium high heat and stir in the garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds and then add the sliced leek, curry leaves, red onion and fenugreek seeds. If using cassia instead of real cinnamon, it can be added to the oil at this stage too.
- Fry this veggie mixture for about 5 minutes to soften and flavour the oil and then pour in the marinated beef.
- Brown the beef in the oil for a couple of minutes and then pour in just enough water to cover. Place the lid on the pot and simmer over a medium heat for about 40 minutes or until the beef is good and tender. Don’t rush this! It’s ready when it’s ready. If needed, you can always add a drop more water if the sauce is drying up.
- Serve with white basmati rice or red matta rice.
*If using cassia instead of real cinnamon, add it to the oil with the other fried ingredients.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 644mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g