Malaysian Beef Curry



This is a simple and less fattening curry than the other Malaysian ones I cook. I decided to omit the coconut milk and it works very well. My belly is relieved too as its sheer girth is rather worrying and unsightly. Anyway, this retains all the richness of a Malay curry and is the best beef curry I’ve made.



750g rump steak (cut into chunks)
4 tablespoons peanut oil
2 onions (diced)
1 inch ginger (finely chopped)
6 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
5 tablespoons Malaysian curry powder (see below)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 whole star anise
15-20 fresh curry leaves

Mix the curry powder with 5-6 tablespoons of water to create a paste. Set aside. In a large pan, heat the peanut oil over a moderate temperature. Add the onions and fry for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and ginger, star anise and curry leaves and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the curry paste and turmeric and mix well for 1 minute. Add the beef and stir for another minute or so. Turn up the heat and add 3 cups water, let this come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until the beef is very tender. Stir the curry occasionally and add more water if the sauce reduces too much.

Plain boiled rice.

Curry Powder:
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 teaspoons fennel seed
4 cloves
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

In a dry frying pan fry the coriander, cumin, fennel and cloves till aromatic and slightly browned. Add to a pestle & mortar or coffee grinder and grind into a fine powder. Add the remaining spices and stir well.

NOTE: You can also buy very good shop bought Malaysian curry powders so keep your eyes peeled next time you’re in an Asian supermarket.

  • allison

    I made this today and it is bubbling away in the slow cooker and smells delicious. I didn’t know where to add the salt, sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce though so I had to guess (added it after the water). Would it be possible to amend the recipe so that it indicates when to add these ingredients? It is such an amazing recipe, I want to do it right. Thank you.

    • leej

      Aaah! My attention to detail!

      You added at the right time! I’ll amend the recipe! Thanks for letting me know.

  • Jenny

    I made this dish last night and it was gorgeous!
    So happy I have left overs for lunch today:-)
    This dish will become a weekly favorite in my household.

  • whatyouhavingforyourtea


    I will add this when I return to Australia next week. I hadn’t realised I’d left it off the recipe!

  • Jo

    Could you please post your recipe for Malaysian curry powder – or am I not looking in the correct place.


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