Tuesday, 13 July 2021

EMCO Day #11 : My Mum's Delicious Beef Curry

Today I am blowing trumpet on behalf on my mum hee..hee... because she would never boast. Not that I am the boastful type lah but when I think something is good, I say it as it is.

My mum used to cook beef curry only on special occasions like Chinese New Year. Or she may cook it once in a blue moon at other times. We all love my mum's goobak curry and when that is on the table, we will each have two helpings (or more) of rice.

My mum loves to pair this beef curry (or her chicken curry) with a large serving of coleslaw. All at home agree that coleslaw goes so well with curry. 

Cooking this beef curry is very similar to chicken curry. Again my mum's emphasis is onions, onions, onions. The more the better.

Well, I did not have enough onions that day, so all I could manage was approximately 600g. I am sure you may have come across a recipe Daging Sekilo Bawang Sekilo (1kg of beef 1 kg of onions) where you use equal weight of beef to onions.

The additional ingredients compared to chicken curry are lemongrass, fresh turmeric (can also use turmeric powder) and cumin seeds.

I forgot to add curry leaves in the above photo, so I did a re-shoot.

Ah, that's better. I have pandan leaves and curry leaves in my garden. So convenient! In fact I also have turmeric but that one is a bit leceh because I have to dig it from the ground. 

You also need dry whole spices.

First up, finely pound the garlic, ginger, turmeric and cumin seeds to form a paste.

Then as usual, slice and saute onions until wilted and translucent.

Add in the pounded ingredients. Saute for a little bit until onions are a little browned and add in the rest of the whole spices, pandan leaf, lemongrass and curry leaves.

Continue to saute until aromatic and then add in the curry paste (made by adding curry powder and water) and mix everything up together.

After that, add in beef and again, kacau, kacau, kacau.

To become like this.

Because beef takes a much longer time to cook, I just transfer everything into a slow cooker, add some water (enough to cover the ingredients) and let the slow cooker do its things for about 1.5 to 2 hours.

As usual, I cook the potatoes separately and add them in during the last half hour of cooking. Then at about the last 10 minutes of cooking, I add in some evaporated milk.

This is what comes out of the slow cooker at the end of it.

So good to eat with either plain rice or even better with Tomato Rice.

I cooked a batch of beef curry earlier, that one had more onions and I can attest that it had a edge over this one. So my recommended amount of onions to use for 1kg of beef is between 800g and 1kg. That may seem like a lot of onions but it cooks down and gives the curry thickness and yumminess.

This beef curry, like most curries can be kept frozen to be enjoyed later. Simply thaw and reheat and it tastes just as good as the day it was cooked.

So here is the recipe in case anyone is interested to try.

Beef Curry
Recipe source : My mum

Ingredients :
- 1 kg beef, cut into cubes
- 5 potatoes

- 800g to 1kg big red onions, thinly sliced

Pound into fine paste :
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 thumb sized ginger
- 1 inch fresh turmeric (or use 1 tsp turmeric powder)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

Whole spices :
- 4 cardamom
- 4 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1" cinnamon stick

- 1.5 packets curry powder (I used Baba's, approximately 37.5g, mixed with water to form a runny paste)

- 2 sprigs curry leaves, use the leaves only
- 1 lemongrass, bruised
- 1 pandan leaf, knotted

- 200ml water (or more if required)
- 100ml evaporated milk

- salt to taste
- oil for frying

Method :
1. Heat enough oil in a pot and saute the onions until wilted and translucent.

2. Add pounded ingredients and continue to saute until the onions are slightly browned.

3. Add whole spices, pandan leaf, lemongrass and curry leaves. Saute until aromatic.

4. Add curry paste and stir to mix with the onions.

5. Add beef and stir to coat the meat with the fried ingredients.

6. Transfer to a slow cooker and add enough water to cover the ingredients. Set to high and cook for 1 to 1.5 hours until beef is tender (Or you could cook on the stove top, making sure to stir every now and then to prevent burning at the bottom of the pot)

7. Meanwhile, steam the potatoes for about 25 minutes. Then cut into quarters.

8. Check the beef and once it is almost tender, add the steamed potatoes and continue to cook for about 20-30 minutes or until beef and potatoes are tender.

9. Add evaporated milk bit by bit while stirring (to avoid curdling) and add salt to taste.


  1. Oooo...another one to tag! I've a scheduled post on this coming soon in a couple of days. Hop over and see, eh? LOL!!!

    1. Yes, I was wondering why I did not see lemongrass in your earlier post.

      My mum would cook beef sometimes and venison once in a while, other than chicken. She would buy the lau kay boh (old mother hen) that could no longer lay eggs...and simmer for a long long time till tender and the flavours had gone into the meat. If we simmer like that with today's chicken, it will fall apart - meat jadi meat, tulang jadi tulang!

      We do not have good fresh beef here - that is why we never use beef for our curry.

    2. I notice that you do not pound your shallots to paste. I had to pound EVERYTHING for my mum. Oooo...tomato rice! Yet to try cooking our own!

    3. I bet your mum's curries are second to none! That's the thing about our mums, grandmothers and great grandmothers. They were very diligent these old gals, very meticulous and their cooking is superb. The modern generation is so spoiled by things like blenders and food processors and now we can just get the paste in a packet. But if the packet stuff is good, hey, why not eh?

  2. I love curry! I could have them all day everyday

  3. Wow! I would love to eat this beef potatoes curry as it doesn't seem too spicy for me. So delicious! Your mother uses evaporated milk and not santan? Can use santan instead or not or the taste won't be as good if use santan? Which part of beef do you buy for this beef curry? I see the beef cubes look very fresh. As always, you are so diligent to cook this beef curry from scratch. You cook tomato rice also? Yummy yummy! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

    1. Of course can use santan too. I bought from the supermarket, those ready packed in cubes, so I dunno which part is that LOL!

  4. Beautiful and delicious beef curry. I have bookmarked this recipe. One day must try to cook this but have to wait till I go to Ipoh wet market to buy the beef. That is the only place I can get beef. I have been lazy, just buy and use ready to cook paste. Drooling over the beef curry with tomato rice.

    1. I hope that you get to cook this beef curry and when you do, please blog about it hee..hee..

  5. When you featured your nasi tomato the other day, my eyes were already drawn to the beef curry you served along with it. This looks even more delicious then your delicious and easy chicken curry (coz I've always preferred beef rendang or curry over chicken)! ;) You are without a doubt our Curry Queen and this Curry Virgin will try out your recipes when EMCO is over but it's very difficult to buy beef where I'm at (none in the smaller wet market near me, the last Malay stall there went bye-bye and the smaller supermarkets here either don't have it or have suspicious looking beef)...haiz.

    Thanks for the tips on how to pour the santan in to prevent curdling (I see you finally saw my question) and also the tip of 1kg bawang to 1kg beef (or chicken)...that's very easy to remember. I'm assuming the 6 onions above equals 1kg which isn't all that much actually (I can stir-fry meat with 2 onions...lol).

    When your mom is such a great cook, you get to learn from the very best! So, blow your trumpet all you want (for you or on behalf of your mom) and as loud as you can so that I can hear it all the way here....lol.

    1. Aiyah...I just know how to cook simple curries, so I am not the Curry Queen LOL! Well, I hope you can try this recipe. I must count myself fortunate that I can easily get beef either from Aeon, the TTDI market (which is currently closed) or frozen ones (though I prefer fresh) from a supplier in TTDI.

      The 6 onions were actually about 600g, so there should be like maybe 8-10 onions? It looks a heap once you peel and slice but no worries, they do shrink just like how green leafy vegetables shrink once stir fried hah..hah..

      LOL! My mum would laugh is she reads your comment!

  6. the preparation is not for the lazy ones as u need to pound all the spices! your mum is definitely a 'great cook'. This recipe & her tips are real treasure in your family kitchen.

  7. Bi Bi Bla Bla Ching Ching! I really heard very loud trumpets blowing with cymbals clashing! I was expecting to see a red sedan chair carrying the BU bride in red veils and selipar Jepun. Mana tau, that opera musicians were from your kitchen to celebrate the success of your aromatic BEEF CURRY!! I could see your passion and time invested to cook such a delicious pot. Your mother would be so proud and happy. I think she would be MORE happier to see me eating your curry with 2 plates of rice. How about it??

    1. LOLOLOLOL!!!! My mum will ketawa giler when she reads your comment. She has been very busy.

  8. Your mum would be proud of you!! Your curry beef looked good. I never try cooking beef curry before.

    1. Thank you! I must cook it for her to taste, see can pass or not. LOL!