m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Sri Lankan Beef Curry

This recipe is a mix of a couple of Sri Lankan beef curry styles: Devilled Beef Curry and a coconut milk beef curry more like my Sri Lankan coconut chicken curry recipe.

Serves 3–4.



  • 1 ½ lb. chuck beef, cubed
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • ½ T. roasted curry powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken in half
  • vinegar and/or soy sauce


  • 1 ½ lb. potatoes, cubed (optional)
  • 1–2 yellow or red onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 T ginger, crushed (optional)
  • mild green peppers to taste, chopped
  • hot green peppers to taste, chopped
  • 1–2 stalks curry leaves (10–20 individual leaves)
  • 1 tomato, optional
  • ¼ c. tomato sauce (or tomato paste dissolved in liquid from the beef)
  • 1 tsp. roasted curry powder
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper to taste)
  • ¾ c. coconut milk, optional


  1. Marinate the beef in the marinade spices and oil for up to an hour.
  2. Optionally, brown the beef and remove from the pan.
  3. Optionally, slow-cook the beef to desired tenderness. If doing so, include the juices and add some vinegar or soy sauce for extra liquid. When done, return the juices to the pan. (Otherwise, just leave the juices in the pan.)
  4. Boil the optional potatoes separately for 10 minutes, or start some rice.
  5. In the juices from the beef (draining them into the pan from the slow cooker if necessary), stir-fry the other vegetables for 5–10 minutes. The pan should now have everything in it except the beef, potatoes, spices and coconut milk.
  6. If the beef isn’t fully cooked, add it to the pan now and cook 5–10 more minutes.
  7. Drain the potatoes, toss them with the curry powder and red pepper flakes, and add them to the pan. (Remove beef if you need the room.) If not using potatoes, just add the remaining spices now.
  8. Fry briefly.
  9. Add beef (if it isn’t there already) and coconut milk.
  10. Simmer until ready to serve.