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South Indian-style beef curry with crisp curry leaves

Recipe | August 17, 2020

Photo by Jason Lucas

Author notes

Full of fragrant spices, this curry is the perfect vehicle for the chunks of melt-in-the-mouth Westholme Wagyu rostbiff, a magnificent whole rump. This slow, wet braise allows the rostbiff to become fall-apart tender and infused with gorgeous flavour. It tastes even better the next day!

20 minutes
2 hours and 45 minutes


2 kg (4.4 lb) Westholme rostbiff, cut into 5cm (2 in) chunks
2 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp finely grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 long green chillies, thinly sliced
2 large sprigs curry leaves
1 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
800ml (3 ⅓ cups) coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
salt, to taste
2 small sweet potatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup baby spinach
250 ml (1 cup) coconut cream

To serve

coriander sprigs
steamed rice
lime wedges
handful curry leaves
vegetable oil


  1. Heat half the oil in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Add beef in batches and cook, turning occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until well browned. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining oil, onion, ginger, garlic, chilli, curry leaves and chilli and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes or until onion starts to soften. Stir in spices to combine and toast lightly, then add tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes until tomato begins to break down.
  3. Return beef to casserole, add coconut milk, lime juice and 1 cup water. Season to taste. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 2 hours or until meat is just tender and sauce is slightly reduced.
  4. Remove lid, stir in sweet potato and cook for a further 25-30 minutes or until sweet potato is tender and sauce thickens. Stir through baby spinach to wilt, then stir in most of the coconut cream and check seasoning.
  5. Use a small, heavy-based pan and add enough vegetable oil to generously coat. Heat over medium-high heat until oil is hot and shimmering. Add curry leaves and allow to fry and crackle, stirring a couple of times, and removing as soon as they are crips. Drain on paper towel.
  6. To serve, drizzle over remaining coconut cream and serve with rice, lime wedges, coriander sprigs and fried curry leaves.


  • This curry can also be cooked in a slow-cooker. Cook on high for 8 hours, adding the sweet potato in the last 2 hours of cooking. If you prefer a thicker sauce, reduce the sauce before serving.
  • The casserole can also be placed in a low oven (150C / 300 C) to cook from step 3.
  • Use regular potatoes instead of sweet potatoes, if desired.



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