Instant Pot Kerala Beef Fry


Instant Pot Kerala Beef Fry on

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 my husband, I didn’t even realize there were Indians who ate beef! I still remember my first time tasting “Indian beef.” It was when he brought his mom’s beef cutletswith 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 my husband is used to eating, but you can obviously adjust the heat to your liking. If it were up to him, he’d add ten serranos/green chilies to this… we compromise by using 2 ;).

Instant Pot Kerala Beef Fry on

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!

Kerala Beef Fry on

Instant Pot Kerala Beef Fry

Instant Pot Kerala Beef Fry on

Instant Pot Kerala Beef Fry

4.93 from 28 reviews
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  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 Serrano peppers or green chilies slit lengthwise but still intact
  • 35-40 curry leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped ginger
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic


  • 1 tablespoon meat masala
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • ½ cup coconut slices*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  • Press the sauté button and add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and mustard seeds to the pot. Once the seeds begin to splutter, add the onions, Serrano peppers and curry leaves. Stir-fry for 15 minutes or until the onions turn brown.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and spices. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the beef, coconut slices and lemon juice. Stir-fry for 5-6 minutes to brown the beef on all sides.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 35 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure.
  • When you open the lid, you will see that the meat has naturally released quite a bit of liquid into the pot. Press the sauté button and cook for 15-18 minutes, adding the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil at about the halfway mark. Stir-fry the beef until it is mostly dry, coated in masala and dark brown.


*find frozen coconut meat/slices at your local Indian grocery store
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.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Marc says

    I am planning on trying this soon, what is a good side dish to serve with this? Just jasmine rice or something similar?

  2. Charlotte says

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious – the beef comes out super tender and the spice profile is so tasty. We made it with your plantain stir fry recipe and it was a great meal 😀

  3. Cait says

    5 stars
    I made this for my Tamil husband and in-laws today. They were amazed that I could cook such good Indian food. My Appa was raving about how good this tasted, as was my husband. Both are very big food critics. It was a home run for sure! Not a drop was leftover. I LOVE your recipes and all the ones I’ve tried have been so easy to follow and so authentic my whole family is amazed that I’m mastering Indian cooking through the internet. You’re heaven sent!

  4. Jenita says

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe a few times. This is an awesome recipe, so close to the original kerala beef fry, with half the cook time and all the yummy taste. I leave a little gravy coz my kids like it that way, otherwise I would have sauteed all the way to the dark fry form. If you can get your hands on some kerala / malabar porotta (trader joes / indian store) this is an awesome accompaniment. My version of comfort food. For those who get the burn signal, I will suggest pouring a little bit of water (less than 1/4 cup) and deglazing before you put the beef in.

  5. Mally says

    Hi Ashley, I have tried a lot of your other recipes and absolutely loved them! If I make this with chicken, how will the cooking time change?

  6. Lauren says

    5 stars
    I just tried this a 2nd time for my keralite husband. This time with 6 serranos because he complained it just wasn’t spicy enough last time. I nearly choked everyone out of the house. Question is — i repeatedly get the BURN flashing. So far 3 times during the first 20 mins. Then i’m scraping the dish (flat wood spatula on stainless steel) manually. It just flashed again while I was typing. Any short cuts around this? Thanks!

  7. Eve says

    I made this recipe but it burned the bottom of my IP. Can’t see what I did wrong. I used grass fed stew beef.
    Still tastes good from what I was able to salvage. Mainly the meatiness much of the onion, garlic, ginger misture it seems.

  8. Santhra says

    5 stars
    This is my third time making it in 2 weeks! My husband and I love it =) I do end up taking the beef pieces out of the IP after the 35 mins and fry them on stove top with some oil to really get that beef fry dark brown color and then add the remaining liquid from IP with some coconut milk to beef and cook a little longer. It tastes amazing! Ive always been too intimated to try beef fry but as a Malayali I had to try and I’m so glad I found your post =)

  9. Liz says

    5 stars
    Wow this tasted exactly like my moms! I’m so excited to have found this! My husband loved it too. Great recipe!

  10. Kumar says

    5 stars
    This is a delicious recipe! Kerala style beef fry / roast is one of my favorite dishes, and I can’t believe I can now cook this at home.

    I cooked it without the coconut slices and substituted bay leaves for curry leaves as we didn’t have those available at home, but it still came out absolutely amazing. My wife, who’s usually unable to eat spicy Indian food loved it too.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  11. Mary Ann Lynch says

    5 stars
    Made this tonight…sure is delicious. A little hot for us, next time I’ll remove the seeds from the serannos.

    I have a question about the coconut. Even after cooking, coconut was very crunchy. Almost seemed uncooked. Is that normal? I used Swad frozen sliced/chopped coconut and I wasn’t impressed. The pieces were not uniform like I see in your photo. If there’s a better brand, I would love to know.

  12. Scott Gluck says

    5 stars
    Hi there! Tried your InstaPot Kerala Beef Fry and it’s delicious! Phenomenal recipe!

    Sadly tonight when I tried to make it again, I got the dreaded BURN notice when I tried to pressure cook. Am transferring to a pot now as the IP is useless till I clean it again. How long would you recommend I leave on stovetop? Thanks again!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Scott, I’m so glad you liked it! Sorry about the burn! Sometimes the burn notice will go away on its own after a few mins but if that doesn’t work you can always clean the pot and try again! To make it on the stovetop, I’d just put it in a heavy pot (like a dutch oven) and simmer until the beef is tender – you’ll need to keep an eye on it and add water as needed since water evaporates on the stovetop.

  13. ST says

    Hey Ashley, I have a silly question. Can I substitute the meat masala with a store bought one (MDH or Shan)? Also, what cut of beef should I use for this recipe?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi! I’ve never tried those brands but after reading the ingredients (after a quick google search), I don’t believe those mixes will taste like kerala meat masala. As for the cut of beef, you can use chuck roast! Let me know what you think of this 🙂

      • ST says

        Thanks for getting back to me, Ashley! I don’t have a grinder to make the meat masala and it wouldn’t be possible to make it using a mortar and pestle so I thought I’d check with you.

        Thanks again 🙂

  14. Tina says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashlee thank you for this amazing recipe. I was wondering if there’s a reason why half of the onions are sliced and half are chopped? Also, when you sauté do you sauté on less, normal or more setting?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Thanks Tina! Great questions! I just do that for texture but you can do it either way and it’ll be just fine. Also, I sauté on normal mode for all recipes unless I say otherwise 🙂

  15. Jenita says

    5 stars
    I made this minutes ago and OMG…. so delicious! Inspite of being a keralite, beef fry is one item that I havent tried at home coz usually its so time consuming (w/o IP that is) …. this one was so good… almost exactly how my mom would make it…. I even gave it to my two year old with some rice, cabbage thoran and morru curry!! Thats my ultimate version of a kerala lunch and she loved it as well. I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing. I even wiped down the pot with a roti coz that masala that sticks to the pot is yummy ! Thanks for another great recipe.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Jenita, your comment made my day!! And I completely understand – I used to rarely make beef fry before the instant pot! I’m so glad you and especially your two year old liked this!!

    • Sandy says

      Hi Ashley
      I just got an instant pot for my mom so that she can make her own yogurt after trying the one I made. I am trying to find other recipes she would like and I think she would like this one but when we make it normally we do not use stew meat. How much less time should we go for if we are using round beef?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sandi, I mention in the blog post that canned mango is typically heavily sweetened which is why I suggest using fresh or frozen mango that you puree yourself. If you look for canned, try to go for unsweetened. Hope that helps!

  16. Pam says

    Ashley, some supermarkets use Chuck, some Round, and, rarely, some sirloin for stew meat. I don’t like he fall-apart stringiness of chuck, but round is often as dry as cardboard……when sirloin is on sale, or Prime Round Roast, I’ll cube or slice it myself and get nice tender meat that isn’t stringy or dry. What kind, specifically, do you use?

  17. Andrea says

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! It is the best home made Indian food I have ever made. The results were restaurant quality. I was skeptical about not adding liquid and it turned out perfectly. This is definitely going I be a favourite around my place!

  18. Shelley Lucas Thomas says

    Absolutely love this recipe. My Malayali husband and son thought it was amazing.
    Since I made it in the evening, the fragrance after it came out of the cooker was too tempting, so they ate it with Matta rice and the next day I fried it and served with Parathas. They were even more pleased!
    It reminded me of my mother-in- law’s recipe.
    I loved the Instant Pot adaptation from the original recipe that I had. It made it so much easier. Thank you so much!

  19. neetz says

    5 stars
    someone posted your blog in a paleo group , i am so glad that they did. and double happy to find a beef recipe from my state !

  20. Sara says

    Did you really mean 1/4 cup of both ginger and garlic? Is it that much because of the instant pot? Thanks!

  21. Vinita says

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s as authentic as you would find in any Mallu home! I actually made it with lamb and it worked perfectly. My meat loving Mallu hubby is so happy that I have found this easy recipe and therefore will be making it more often! Kids and hubby licked their plates clean! I don’t eat meat, but when I saw their reaction, I almost wished I did!! Thank you so much!!!

  22. Deepti Bajwa says

    5 stars
    Ashley! I made this last night for my mother in law and sister in law (as you know they’re both from Kerala too!) and Jason and everyone LOVED it! My first time making Indian food and it was such a piece of cake thanks to your easy directions. I can see this being repeated in my house pretty often 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

  23. George says

    5 stars
    So happy to find a Kerala beef dish for the Instant Pot! Yay!! Now I can justify a purchase. Just stumbled on this so now I’ll have to try some other things.

    Suggestion: I wonder if it would work to put some yucca in the top…and then mash all of that together. For Kappa Biriyani.

    • My Heart Beets says

      I can’t wait to hear what you think of my recipe once you make it in your new Instant Pot lol! And love the suggestion – will try it the next time I make this. I’m sure it’ll work!

  24. stacy :) says

    5 stars
    This is simply amazing. So much flavor in a one-pot recipe. I love how you have taken recipes from your and your husband’s childhood and made them so accessible to the rest of us! Thank you!

  25. Penny says

    Recipe loooks amazing, is it ok to cook without the cup of water needed as a minimum or is that just me following pressure cooker guidelines???

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Penny, I made this without adding extra water because meat naturally releases water. If that makes you uncomfortable then you can add water but just be sure to hit the saute button at the end to boil off extra liquid.

  26. Sonia says

    Are you supposed to add the minced onion and sliced onion at the beginning together? I noticed in the original recipe you used the sliced onion for tadka at the end. Thanks!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sonia! I add both together to keep things easier in this version – and honestly, it doesn’t make much of a difference when it comes to the final outcome of the dish. Let me know what you think of the recipe!

  27. PinkPonytail says

    5 stars
    Hey Ashley!
    I made the meat masala a week ago and I have been dying to try this recipe for a while but always happen to be missing an ingredient or two! Today I bit the bullet and decided to go for it with a couple of amendments. I halved the quantities as I used 1lb of diced lamb instead of 2lb of beef. I also ran out of coconut oil (d’oh!) so I used groundnut oil. The frozen coconut flesh I bought was grated and it dispersed and disappeared into the masala but gave it a beautiful flavour. I’m also a chilli fan so used extra hot red chilli powder and 3 serrano chillis. This recipe is actually amazeballs. I don’t have an instantpot, I made the whole thing in my wok and turned the heat up and down on my electric hob as necessary. For the meat/stew option I just put the cooker on its lowest heat setting, popped the lid on and plugged the steam hole with a little kitchen paper. worked a charm!

    When I was at university I had a sri lankan flatmate who would make this incredible dry mutton curry and I could never replicate it, and It drove me absolutely nuts for a while- this curry is the closest I’ve ever gotten to it and I’d even go as far as to say it might even be better! Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. DB says

    Thanks for the recipe. So, this looked so amazingly alluring that I ordered the instapot just for this recipe. I followed the recipe to every detail and by the time I was done boiling down the copious amount of liquid which was generated, the beef stew meat was decimated to a pulp. It did not look chunky like the picture above. But the flavor was amazing so I am still holding out hope that perhaps I can get the appropriate texture by reducing the time of pressure cooking. Any suggestions?

    • My Heart Beets says

      DB, I’m glad you liked the flavor! As for the meat, maybe the cut was too tender? I use grassfed stew meat… maybe when you make this again, remove some of the beef pieces, reduce the liquid then try adding the beef back in? Let me know how it goes!

    • Bobby says

      3 stars
      As a Malu who’s mom used to make this ever week (not in an instant pot) I can say the flavor of the masala is on point. However the beef is too stringy. I cooked it for 35 minutes and put fast release and it was still over cooked. I used a cut with a higher collegen content like rump roast hoping it wouldn’t be. I usually try to make something at least 10 times with tiny tweeks to get it just right. I think I will try brisket with maybe 25 minutes next time and see how it goes. Let us know if anyone else has tried any successful variations.

  29. Ragna says

    5 stars
    OMG – so good! A real winner. When I read it was your husband’s favorite recipe, I knew it would be great. Somewhat spicy for sure but luckily even our 7 year old son loves spicy and it was a big hit. Very authentic.

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