Madras Beef Curry


This fragrant curry from Southern India has less sauce than many other versions of curry and uses no dairy or coconut milk. Don’t let the list of spices put you off; all of them can be found in the spice aisle in most major grocery stores these days.

Lamb may be substituted for the beef in the recipe with excellent results.

Madras Beef Curry
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons curry powder (mild or hot)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
1 lb beef thinly sliced
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
Chopped green onions
Steamed basmati rice

Slice the beef thinly (as for a stir fry) and place in a medium bowl. Add all of the other ingredients, except the tomatoes, green onions and rice and combine to coat the meat well. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to flavor the meat.

Heat a medium pan with a lid over medium heat. Add the meat and brown well, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook over medium heat until all of the meat juices have evaporated and only oil remains in the bottom of the pan with the meat.

Add the tomatoes, stir to combine and lower the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and most of the moisture from the tomatoes has been absorbed by the meat, about 30 minutes. If sauce becomes too thick before the beef is tender, add ½ cup water and continue to simmer with the lid on.

Taste and adjust the seasoning adding additional salt if needed. Madras curries are often spicy. Additional cayenne pepper may be added at this point if a spicier curry is desired.

Serve over steamed basmati rice with chopped green onions on top. Serves 4.

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  1. Since when do INDIANS eat BEEF?!?!?!?!?!?

    • As certain Hindus consider cattle to be a sacred animal, beef is considered taboo in more conservative Indian states, and therefore most restaurants do not serve dishes made of beef. However, beef is commonly available in the North-Eastern states, Goa and in some parts of Southern states (wherever there is a concentration of beef eating non-Hindu communities). In Kerala, Muslims, Christians and even Hindus eat beef. Some Hindus consume beef in states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu. (Wikipedia)

    • libby
    • January 20th, 2011

    This looks delicious! I now have one more meal for this week planned!

  2. This looks great! I’m going to try this with chicken. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I know what you mean by the ‘put you off’ with the list of spices – some of my recipes scare the hell out of folks…. beautiful curry

  4. I love curry and it’s really healthy too. Your recipe sounds delicious!

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