Thenga Varutharacha Beef Curry / Beef Curry in Roasted Coconut Gravy

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Beef is eaten in India in the Christian and Muslim communities where there are no religious taboos associated with it. Many curries in Kerala are flavored with a coconut-spice masala, but this one requires toasting the coconut and spices together before grinding them into a paste. The extra step gives this beef curry a deep sweet flavor.

Total Time: 1 Hour and 35 minutes
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Active Cooking Time: 1 Hour and 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Difficulty: Intermediate


  • 3 lbs Beef, cut into bite size pieces, washed, rinsed and drained.
  • 2 medium onion, sliced thin (3 cup)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped (1 1/2 cup)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup sliced coconut
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

For Grinding

  • 3/4 cup grated unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon garlic / ginger paste
  • 2 cup water

Ground Masala

  • 1 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon kashmiri chili powder (Note: If using normal red chili powder reduce the quantity to 1/2 tbsp.)
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon coriander Power
  • 1 tablespoon paprika powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground homemade Garam Masala

Tarka (Ingredients for sputtering for mustard)

  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 3 Spring Curry leaves


  1. In a wide nonstick frying pan combine the coconut. Roast over medium heat, stirring constantly until the coconut turns cinnamon brown with no white remaining. Add garlic and ginger paste and fry for 3 to 4 minutes.  Add ground masala and stir well for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove it from the heat and transfer to a blender. Add 2 cups of water and blend to a smooth paste like think pesto; set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a Dutch oven (preferably in an Enameled cast-iron), over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the mustard seeds and cover. When seeds have popped, toss in the curry leaves and let them crackle for few seconds.
  4. Add finely sliced onions, sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly
  5. Add chopped tomatoes. Mix well… (about 2 to 3 minutes). Cook till the tomatoes become soft.
  6. Add coconut paste and bring to a boil
  7. Add beef, mix well and cover and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  9. Serve with rice or chapati

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