Kerala Beef Fry

Kerala beef fry on a white plate

The Spruce / Petrina Verma Sarkar

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
496 Calories
23g Fat
20g Carbs
53g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 496
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 149mg 50%
Sodium 243mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Protein 53g
Calcium 106mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This delicious dish is a favorite in the South-Indian state of Kerala. Kerala Beef Fry is a dish that I versatile, served not only as a snack when friends visit but also as a main course dish with dosas, idlis or appams—these are all various kinds of Indian bread. The spicy flavor of this beef fry recipe can be as mild or as fiery as you'd like it to be. This makes it an ideal introductory dish into Indian cuisine, for you or your friends.

This Kerala beef fry recipe requires the use of both a ginger paste and a garlic paste. You can make both on your own very easily in just a few moments, in a food processor, but you can also often find these items in the grocery store. Look for them around the ginger or garlic; sometimes they're sold in jars and other times in tubes.


  • 4 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 8 cloves
  • 25 black peppercorns
  • 6 green cardamom seeds
  • 1-inch stick of cinnamon
  • 2.2 pounds/1 kilogram beef, cut into 2"-long, 1"-thick strips
  • 2 large onions, sliced very thin
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 to 3 green chiles
  • 4 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, such as canola or sunflower oil
  • For tempering: 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 50 curry leaves
  • 1 cup fresh coconut, cut into 1"-long, thin slivers
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat a sauté pan on medium heat and once it's hot, reduce the flame to low. Add the fennel, coriander seeds, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, and cinnamon to the pan. Roast, stirring often, until the spices begin to slightly darken and become aromatic. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

  2. In a clean, dry coffee grinder, grind the roasted spices into a coarse powder.

  3. Put the ground spices, meat, sliced onions, green chilies, tomatoes, along with the ginger and garlic pastes, into a large mixing bowl. Mix well until the meat is evenly coated. Set aside to marinate for an hour.

  4. After an hour, put the spiced beef mixture into a large deep pot over medium heat. Do not add any water, as the meat will give off its own juices. Cook till the meat is tender.

  5. In a separate small pan, heat the cooking oil over medium heat until hot and add the chopped onions. Fry until they are translucent.

  6. Add the curry leaves and mustard seeds and cook till they stop spluttering. Now add the coconut slivers. Cook until they begin to turn a pale golden color.

  7. Add this tempering mixture to the pot with the meat and over medium heat and mix well. Cook, stirring often, until the meat browns. The whole dish should turn to a deep, dark brown color. This dish traditionally has no gravy at all and is dry, so if water is present, make sure to dry it off.

  8. Serve hot with idlis, dosas, or appams.

How to Store and Freeze Beef Fry

This spicy beef fry will keep in the refrigerator, covered for up to 5 days. You can also store it longer in the freezer, if it's well wrapped in foil and placed in a zip-close bag, for up to 3 months.

Recipe Tags: