Kerala beef fry slow-roasted in coconut and spices before fried in curry leaves and onions. Find out how to make this easy Kerala-style ularthiyathu today.
Kerala beef fry is an easy pressure cooker recipe that takes the naturally rich flavors of beef and intensifies them with classic Indian spices, coconut slices, and curry leaves. The end result is a hot and tender meat dish that’s perfect served alongside white rice, Indian parotta, or naan bread.
Also known as ullarthiyathu, the dish is native to the Kerala region of India, and is traditionally prepared with cubes of beef slow-cooked in a blend of spices and coconut. It’s then sautéed to caramelize it and remove its moisture to give an intensely rich plate of beef. It’s perfect for sharing as part of a platter or for making in batches for the week.
If you’re preparing Kerala-style beef for the first time, there are a few helpful tips to improve the quality of this fragrant and savory dish.
- Try to get boneless chuck roast or top loin for your beef. These cuts are easy to cut into cubes and will absorb the spices and seasonings well.
- Choose fresh, locally grown herbs, spices, and vegetables for better taste
- Slice the beef into small, one-inch cubes, or smaller, as this will help absorb the spices and other ingredients during marination.
- Extra virgin coconut oil is ideal, though if unavailable, any type of coconut oil will work. Coconuts are everywhere in Kerala, so coconut oil is used in most Kerala-style recipes. If you need a coconut oil substitute, sunflower oil is good for frying without ruining aroma or flavor.
- If you don’t have fennel seed but want something similar, crushed anise seed or caraway seeds are both excellent alternatives to fennel seed.
If you want to store beef fry for later, it will last up to one week in the refrigerator and three months in the freezer. When you want to reheat leftovers, you can quickly warm them in a skillet for a few minutes on the stovetop or two to three minutes in the microwave.
Side Dish Ideas
If you’re serving Karala beef fry as a main dish, there are some excellent sides to consider. Basmati rice or pilaf is a popular choice. Naan, or flatbread, is another excellent option. Freshly baked buns or bread makes a great option if you don’t have naan or rice on hand. These options absorb the decadent flavors of beef fry, which makes them a great choice.
In addition to rice, naan, and bread, you may want to add some grilled vegetables, or a side dish or black lentil curry, cooked spinach, or a fresh salad. A small bowl of yogurt with mint or cucumbers is a great way to cool your palate in contrast to the rich spices and flavors.
Kerala Beef Fry
- pressure cooker
- 1 lb beef cut into 1-inch cubes
To Pressure Cook
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 2 shallots chopped
- ½ cup coconut chunks
- 1 ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 3 tsp red chili powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 curry leaves chopped
- 2 white onions chopped
- In a bowl, combine the beef cubes, garlic, ginger, shallots, coconut, and spices.
- Add to pressure cooker, with cinnamon stick and kosher salt. Add 1-2 cups water, to just cover the beef. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Heat coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add curry leaves and onions. Sauté until onions turn brown and translucent.
- Add beef to pan, along with any residual water. Cook until beef has turned dark brown and started to dry out, about 15 minutes.
- Serve with white rice or naan