Sri Lankan Beef & Coconut Curry

After a trip to Sri Lanka I was inspired to re-create some of their delicious curries in my pressure cooker. Sri Lankan curries are usually more liquid than Indian curries and are often hotter.This curry is milder due to the coconut milk but you can reduce the chilli for a mild curry. If you cannot find pandam leaves or curry leaves cook it anyway, it will still be delicous.

You will need:

1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
250ml (1 cup) boiling water
2 Tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
5 cardamom pods bruised
1-3 teaspoons chilli flakes ( depending on heat level desired)
4 teaspoons Sri Lankan curry powder*
2 sprigs curry leaves, leaves only
30cm pandam leaf chopped into 2 cm sized pieces (optional)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2cm piece ginger, finely chopped
750g beef stewing steak, cut into 2cm cubes
250ml coconut milk
1-2 tsp salt
jaggery, coconut or palm sugar to taste


Place tamarind in 1 cup boiling water and set aside to soften.
Heat the pressure cooker to medium heat and add oil. When the oil is hot add cardamom, chilli, curry powder, curry leaves, pandam, garlic and ginger.
Keep stirring while you gently heat the spices for 1 -3 minutes or until fragrant.
Add diced beef and stir coating the beef without burning the spices.
Strain the tamarind keeping the water and throwing away the seeds and hard pulpy bits. Add the tamarind water to the pan with the coconut milk and salt.
Put on the pressure cooker lid and lock it into place. Set to high pressure (2) Bring up to pressure and maintain the pressure for 25 minutes.

Remove lid from pressure cooker then taste adding a little grated sugar to get a balance of sour and sweet, simmer with the lid off if sauce needs reducing, remembering Sri Lankan curries are often more liquid.
Serve with Sri Lankan red rice and Mallum* see recipe.

Serves 4-6

* Sri Lankan curry powder recipe


For more recipes by Lisa Loveday buy her book here