Sri Lanka Beef curry

prep time: 25 min

cook time: 1 hrs 25 min

ready in: 2 hrs 40 min

serves: 8


  • 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger root – peeled, sliced and crushed
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, toasted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 fresh curry leaves
  • 4 strips pandan leaf
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 (1 inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk


  1. Rinse the beef and pat dry. Crush the garlic cloves into a paste and combine it with the crushed ginger. Add the vinegar, salt, pepper, roasted curry powder, and cayenne. Mix in the beef cubes and toss to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the curry leaves and pandan strips. Stir in the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix in the beef cubes and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and cloves. Add the tomato paste and water and mix well.
  4. Simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender. Check the curry every half hour; you may need to add more water (up to 1 cup) if the curry is too dry and is sticking to the pan.
  5. Add the coconut milk and heat through. Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.

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