Masala Beef with Ginger and Curry Leaf


This is a real delight for the beef eaters. The roots of this recipe are Portuguese; it's widely prepared among the Syrian Christians in Kerala, India. Basically you cut the beef into small cubes and fry in the spicy ingredients. It's so yummy and it goes well with white rice.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
6 servings


  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 (1 inch) piece cinnamon stick

  • 5 cardamom pods

  • 4 whole cloves

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds

  • 10 whole black peppercorns

  • 2 pounds beef tenderloin, cubed

  • 3 cups chopped onion, divided

  • 5 green chile peppers, halved lengthwise

  • 1 (1 1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, grated

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup coconut oil

  • ¼ teaspoon whole mustard seeds

  • 4 fresh curry leaves

  • 2 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. To make the masala powder: Grind the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds and peppercorns in a spice grinder until mixture is a fine powder.

  2. Place the beef cubes, masala powder, 2 cups chopped onion, green chiles, grated fresh ginger, garlic and turmeric in a large, heavy pot. Add water to cover (about 1 cup) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until beef is cooked through. Add salt. Stir and continue to simmer about 10 minutes or until mixture is almost dry, but do not allow it to burn (add a bit more water, if necessary). Set aside.

  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and cook until they begin to pop. Immediately add remaining 1 cup chopped onion and stir over medium heat until onions soften and begin to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add curry leaves and cook until brown, about 3 minutes.

  4. Stir in the beef mixture, black pepper, and lemon juice. Cook until nicely browned and heated through, about 8 minutes.

Cook's Note:

You can adjust the spiciness of this recipe by increasing or decreasing the number of green chiles. Also, you can remove the green chiles before serving, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

489 Calories
37g Fat
16g Carbs
25g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 489
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 37g 48%
Saturated Fat 24g 120%
Cholesterol 77mg 26%
Sodium 450mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 100mg 499%
Calcium 75mg 6%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 649mg 14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.