This curry is easy to make and sings with flavour when you ladle it into your bowl. Try it with your favourite rice or a combination of white and brown rice with quinoa in the same pot for a big hit of flavour and health.






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (462 votes)


  • 4 large potatoes or 2 large sweet potatoes 
  • 1 cup rice, rinsed well 
  • 1 onion, finely diced 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 500 g chuck steak or gravy beef, cubed 
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed 
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated 
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar 
  • 3 curry leaves 
  • 2 tomatoes, finely diced 
  • 400 ml coconut milk

Masala spices

  • 2-3 whole cloves 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 2 brown cardamom pods 
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks 
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  • ½ tsp turmeric, dried and ground 
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder (or more if you like it hot)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Wash the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes in a pot of boiling water, they should still be fairly hard. Dice into 1 cm cubes and set aside. In a heavy frypan on medium heat, dry fry the cloves, bay leaf, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds and cumin seeds for 1-2 minutes, remove and pound to a powder in a mortar and pestle or food processor. Add turmeric and chilli and set aside.

Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, sauté the onions until caramelised. Set onions aside, add the rest of the oil to the pan, and cook the cubed beef until brown on all sides. Add the onion back to the pan along with the garlic, ginger and curry spices. Cook for 1 minute or until spices are fragrant.

Add the tomato paste, lemon juice, vinegar, curry leaves, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, potato, and seasoning, bring to the boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer covered for 1.5-2 hours or until meat is tender.

Meanwhile, bring a pot with 2 cups water to the boil, add the rice and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Put a lid on the pot and let it cook until all the water has been absorbed. White rice will take about 20 minutes and brown rice up to 40 minutes.

Serve the beef on rice, with poppadums or roti bread.



• Intensify the flavours of a delicious, authentic curry by making your own spice mix. If you don't have them in your pantry, a store-bought masala curry powder would be sufficient (use 2-3 teaspoons). It is important that you dry fry the spices, as this releases their flavours and aromas and prevents the curry from tasting like raw spice.


Recipe from The Whimsical Wife by Melissa Darr, with photographs by Melissa Darr.

This recipe is featured as part of our online column, Eat well: In defence of whole grains. View more recipes from this column.

View previous Eat well articles.