Sep 08

Cheat’s Malaysian Beef Curry





I never used to venture into the realm of making my own curry from scratch simply because I always believed it was a tedious, endless process of chopping, grinding and pounding spices and getting the balance just right. Then you have to contend with the meat and cook it long enough to get it tender yet still keep it juicy and flavourful. I have had beef curry before that tasted great, gravy-wise, but the meat was tough as leather. Totally inedible. To achieve juicy succulent pieces of meat you have to have a lot of time on your hands, say 2 hours or so, and patience because like any good stew curries really come to life when you use stewing meat that is well marbled ~ and stewing meats take a while to cook down. Stew cuts are a lot tougher than the leaner and more expensive cuts, like beef fillet but they are so flavourful when cooked right. You don’t want to use fillet in this dish anyway, it’s too lean. But I have found a way to do away with all the hard labour of traditional cooking and still be able to put a plate of fabulous beef curry on the table in ONE HOUR FLAT!



The secret : A pressure cooker and a packet of pre-mix.



Alright, alright. I hear what all you purists out there are saying. You’re saying that using a pre-mix is not proper cooking … blah blah blah. But I stand by my decision because once you taste this curry you too will hug yourself at the sheer brilliance of flavour bursting forth from the pot. Many a Malaysian housewife makes a curry using a pre-mix in some way or form, so why should other less-skilled curry enthusiasts (myself included) be deprived of having the satisfaction of making their own curry? I mean after all, who knows … pre-mix today; proper from-scratch ingredients tomorrow. The idea is to get over the fear of taking that first step into the world of curry delights ~ and a darned good one at that too!






Here’s what you do :


1. Roughly chop a red onion, slice a 5 cm block of fresh ginger and one clove of garlic. Set aside.


2. Prep the beef. I am using … erm … well I don’t exactly know what the actual cut is called. It’s just labeled as ‘stewing meat’ on the package (also the wordings are in Dutch). You will recognise this cut when you see all the white streaks running through the red meat. All this fat and sinew will melt off during cooking and will give your beef a very tender and succulent texture. It’s FABULOS! Trust me. I like my beef curry rustic and hearty so I cut the meat into fairly generous chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.






3. Heat some oil in a pressure cooker. Mine is pretty small, but it’s a good size for just the two of us. I got it as a gift from India a looooong time ago and it had been sitting in my mother’s house, unused and still in it’s original packing for years, before I finally agreed to take it off her hands. Best decision EVER!! Anyway, heat the oil and sweat the onions, ginger and garlic on low heat.






4. Rip open your choice of whatever pre-mix Rendang paste you can find at your local Asian mini mart ~ just remember to use one that’s meant for beef, not chicken or fish. Yes, there is a difference. I pretty much use whatever my mother sends me from home. The paste I use comes in a 200 g foil packet … but I only use half of the mix. If you are cooking for a large party and are using more beef then by all means use it all. Sautee the mix with the onions until fragrant. There will be a considerable amount of oil in the pot but don’t fret, this will be easily skimmed off at the end.






5. Add in a whole can of coconut milk, the lemongrass stalks and the kaffir lime leaves. Give it a stir.


6. Add the meat all at once, stir to coat with the sauce and then add waxy potatoes.


7. Add the chicken boullion cube, cover the pot with the lid and lock. The heat should be at medium – low. Now forget about it for the next 30 – 40 mins. Go boil some rice or read a book. Just a reminder tho, taste test your pre-mix spice paste for salt. If it already comes with added salt then you may not need the bouillon cube … or just use less of it.


8. Once 40 mins is over, unlock and remove the lid as per the manufacturers instructions for your specific pot model. You will notice all the oil has come up to the surface. Do not stir it back in!! Skim off as much of the oil as you can. I dip a clean kitchen towel in there … really does the trick. Or just use a spoon, like a civilised person would.


9. If the sauce is a little too runny for your liking, there is always cornflour. Just dissolve about a tablespoon of cornflour with some water and add this to the still piping hot curry. The curry will thicken almost instantly. Adjust seasoning. You have now made your very own pot of beef curry. I can safely say that the meat will be lovely and fork tender. All the fat and sinew would have melted off and this will give the beef a wonderfully unctuous texture.






When I first started using a pressure cooker I was quite literally fearful for my life. I suspect that every novice pressure cooker owner felt the same way. The thing was always going to blow up in your face the minute you approached it, right? Everything about it scared the bejezuz out of me … especially the sound it makes when steam comes out the pressure valve. TAKE COVERRRR!!! But I have been safely using this genius pot for almost a year now and I could not be happier with the results. I use it year round for stews, casseroles, curries and even when I make pie filling. A good one will last you a long time. I just hope my little one does too coz I have grown rather attached it.



Anyway, do try out this recipe and let me know how you get on. This curry does very well in the fridge, and it will taste WAY better the next day anyway. Which reminds me … if you don’t want to bother skimming hot fat out of a hot pot then simply stick the curry in the fridge overnight and then remove the chunks of solidified fat on the surface the next day. Easy-peasy!




Ingredients :

  • 700 g stewing beef, well marbled
  • 1 whole red onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cm ginger, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
  • 1 can ( 180 mls) coconut milk
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 chicken buillon cube
  • 1 pkt wet Rendang paste (200 mls)
  • 150 g waxy potatoes
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (**optional)




~ ENJOY! ~



 ** If you like curries, then check out my Fuss Free Chicken Curry post as well … or Curried Beef Puffs.






Permanent link to this article: http://foodflurries.com/savoury/cheats-malaysian-beef-curry


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  1. Sybille

    Hard time finding this meat in dieting Germany….
    Will try it w “Gulasch” meat that is supposed to be cooked too…

    1. bubviv

      Sybille, on the packet I bought it said “Runder Riblappen” … not sure what that translates to in German. But meat for Goulash should work too, since it is a braising meat.

  2. Sarah Volpe

    Viv again this looks delicious, you’re putting all my attempts to shame! One of my favourite Malaysian dishes is Laksa do you have any cheat tips on it? I really want to attempt my own.

    1. bubviv

      You’re in LUCK coz Laksa is coming up soon. I was meant to embark on a Great Britain menu this month but thanks to you I have been missing the food from home.

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