Beef Curry

My Mum’s Recipe

beef curry

This is a long overdue recipe that has finally made it on For The Love of Ghee.  So, for those of you out there who wanted this recipe, here it its!

This basic beef curry is quite delicious, and yet again easy to make.  The prep time is definitely quick.  It does however need a significant amount of cooking time.  Therefore,  I would suggest making this on the weekend, obviously it being a little less mayhem than a weeknight.

Needless to say, it is rather delicious reheated the next day or saved for later in the week.  Frankly the curry tastes great, cold or warm, stuffed into a sandwich and served alongside a pickle and chips or eaten warm with a hot slice of toast or roti.

However, I would suggest eating the curry atop a pile of rice with a pickled condiment of choice, a dollop of yogurt and some crunchy side, perhaps pappad or if that’s not available, a small handful of potato chips.  Ummmm… Yummm.  I made beef curry today and this is exactly how I ate it!  I could go on but you get the gist of it.  I hope you’re able to make this recipe soon and please let me know how it fairs…

Zimbabwe has probably the best beef I’ve eaten anywhere in the world – I can safely say world and not mean one continent.  Anyway, maybe I’m being biased but I do know several people who would attest to this amazing beef.

Initially, when I crossed the Atlantic to live in the USA I missed my beef with such an intensity I can’t explain.  I craved a spicy steak curry or even a good old steak served with a black pepper sauce.  I tried my mum’s recipes over and over again, using different spices, tweaking the recipe here and there, but to no avail.

Eventually, I realized it was the quality of the beef I was using.  I grew up eating grass-fed beef, I was not accustomed to the flavor of the mass produced beef I was eating.  I then experimented with the ‘good-stuff’ and was immensely satisfied with the results.

Anyway, I’ve learned so much about the food culture in the United States over the years after I made my discovery.  I have to thank, in those experimental years, without doubt, food magazines like Gourmet Magazine for coaching me about the food ‘know-how’.  And here I am now, years later sharing my beef curry recipe with you.





1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1 tsp cummin seeds

1/2 cup onions, finely chopped

1 lbs stewing beef, cut into  2 inch cubes or strips

3/4 tablespoons crushed garlic

salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

8 – 10 black peppercorns

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

5 tablespoons crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

To Make the Beef Curry

Heat the oil in a medium sized pan on high heat.  Toss in the cumin seeds.  Once they begin to sizzle and pop, throw in the onions.

Fry the onions till the edges turn a light brown in color, being careful not to brown them.

Immediately tumble in the beef.  Pile on the rest of the ingredients, except the cilantro, in the order listed above.

DO NOT STIR.  Close the lid of the pan and reduce the heat to the lowest setting.  Simmer for about 25 – 30 mins.

Stir the curry, increase the heat and stir-fry the beef till no water remains.  The curry should be thick at this stage and it may even stick to the bottom of the pan, this is okay.

Pour in two cups of boiling water and simmer the curry for about an hour or until the meat is tender and the sauce thick.

Sprinkle with the cilantro and with rotis smeared in a little ghee or with a bowl of rice.




  • Memories

At home we ate using our fingers and I still do, it made the food taste ever-more (if that’s a word) delicious.  If my memory serves me well we ate this quite a bit during winter, hence me writing about it now.  As a child,  I would pile a heap of hot steaming rice onto my plate and pour over a large ladle full of the steak curry.  My mouth is watering at the thought of it.  I would then with my little fingers squish the rice and curry together in a rhythmic motion until it was combined perfectly, adding more curry, if needed.  Then came the magical moment, I poured a little ketchup over it and ate till I licked my plate clean.  Now I’m not saying this is how you should eat your beef curry but… it is your wish.



  • Tips

I almost always choose a stewing steak that has been precut, but really you can’t go wrong choosing a cut of meat that could use a longer cooking time.  My mum adds quartered baby cabbages to this curry about 20 minutes before serving, I absolutely love this.  You could also, instead of the cabbage, add peeled potatoes cut into large pieces to the curry at this stage too.  It’s all a matter of taste, therefore go ahead and stir in some peas 5 minutes before serving the curry.  I would like to think this curry is a pretty versatile dish, so play around with different vegetables of your choice.  I use fresh tomatoes in the summer when they’re available and add a tablespoon of tomato paste too, instead of the crushed tomatoes.  I have made this recipe rather mild so turn up the heat if you prefer and add more cayenne pepper or freshly crushed red seranno peppers.  They do give the curry a real kick.  I’m so excited to finally share this recipe with you.  So go ahead give it a shot!




17 thoughts on “Beef Curry

  1. curries intrigue me–so many different ways to do it and always slight flavor variations. Yours looks savory and wonderful and I can see why you crave it. Now I do, too!


  2. Drool. This sounds heavenly, especially for this time of year. Unfortunately my husband does not eat beef, so it’s unlikely I’ll be able to make this any time soon. 😦 Maybe next time he is away on business. 😉 Thanks for sharing!


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