This is my husband’s all-time favorite dish! It’s a south Indian recipe that he grew up eating called “Kerala Beef Fry.” It’s basically a dry beef dish that happens to be insanely flavorful.
In the past, this has been more of a special occasion dish – because it takes time and requires the use of several pots. BUT since I have successfully adapted the recipe so that it can all be made in a single pot – this will be on the menu way more often! You can make this dish from start to finish all in your Instant Pot (electronic pressure cooker).
A lot of people aren’t very familiar with Indian beef recipes. Beef is a protein that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in an Indian restaurant. I’m north Indian and until I met Roby, I didn’t even realize there were Indians who ate beef! I still remember my first time tasting “Indian beef.” It was when Roby brought his mom’s beef cutlets with him to college (and I of course ate most of them). Until that point, my only experience with beef was in hamburgers or steaks. I had no idea that beef could be so delicious.
This recipe is a Christian Keralite dish called Erachi Ularthiyathu which translates to: beef fry. For Christians in India, especially in Kerala, beef is a staple and this particular recipe is considered a special dish by many – for good reason. The tender, spiced bites of beef are absolutely delicious.
The dish is made with coconut slices and curry leaves (you can find both at any Indian grocery store) and it’s also fairly spicy. My recipe is relatively mild compared to what Roby is used to eating, but you can obviously adjust the heat to your liking. If it were up to Roby, he’d add ten serranos/green chilies to this… we compromise by using 2 ;).
If you like Indian food and beef – then you will 100 percent love this recipe. I can’t wait to hear what you think!! And for those of you who use an old school whistling pressure cooker, here’s my original recipe from several years ago – with updated pictures. Seriously though, get yourself an Instant Pot!
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 2 serrano peppers, slit lengthwise but still in-tact
- 6-7 sprigs curry leaves
- ¼ cup chopped ginger
- ¼ cup chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon meat masala (you'll need to make this! please don't try to substitute this with garam masala)
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder (or 2 teaspoons paprika and ¼ teaspoon cayenne)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds beef stew meat
- ½ cup coconut slices (find frozen coconut meat/slices at your local Indian grocery store)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Press the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot, and add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and the mustard seeds to the pot. Once the seeds begin to splutter, add the onions, serrano peppers, and curry leaves.
- Stir-fry for about 15 minutes or until the onions begin to brown.
- Next, add the ginger, garlic and spices. Stir-fry for a minute, then add the remaining ingredients: beef cubes, coconut slices, lemon juice.
- Stir-fry the mixture for 5-6 minutes to brown the beef on all sides.
- Cover and lock the lid. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot, then press the “Meat/Stew” button to begin the pressure cooking. It will automatically be set for 35 minutes. Make sure the steam valve is closed.
- Once the stew is done, the Instant Pot will automatically switch to the “Keep Warm” mode. Allow the pressure to release naturally and when it does, remove the lid.
- You’ll see that the meat has naturally released quite a bit of liquid into the pot. Press the “Sauté” button and allow the liquid to boil off.
- When the liquid is mostly reduced, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Stir-fry the beef until the beef is dry and becomes dark brown in color.
This is meant to be a dry dish, so once it's done cooking - while you can certainly eat it as a stew - I suggest using the "sauté" button to boil off some of the liquid.