Kerala Beef Fry

Kerala style beef fry aka beef ularthiyathu is made with boneless beef chunks that are cooked in a mixture of ground spices and shallots and then is slow-roasted in coconut oil with curry leaves and coconut slivers until the meat is browned. Best served with Kerala's very own flatbread, Porotta but my favourite is with plain rice and moru curry with some thoran. Yummy! Returning reader? Jump to Recipe
A plate of kerala beef fry along side a bowl  of okra stir fry
"Beef" has been the most searched term on the blog since forever and it would always make me feel bad that I am not serving what my readers are looking for. I hope this recipe will be the start of many nadan beef recipes. InshaAllah. Even though the consumption of beef might be unlawful in most states of India, there is one state that defies this norm - Ente Keralam (my Kerala). Imagine I said that in tamil accent!😝

Beef Ularthiyathu is more of a South Kerala dish and each family may have their own recipe. The major difference is in the spices used but every beef fry recipe will have three common ingredients - coconut oil, curry leaves and coconut slivers! I should say if there is a "State Dish" for Kerala, then it is hands-down Malayalee’s favourite Beef fry with Porotta.

This beef fry is not my family recipe nor does my mom make anything like this. I honestly believe that the South has a better game with Beef than us North Kerala. They have amazing beef pickle, beef fry, beef cutlets, etc.  I am sorry I am letting down my side, but that is my opinion and am sure many of you agree too! But, we still hold the trophy for biryani, so we are equal? 😜

My beef fry recipe is for those who are residing outside Kerala or India and struggling to get the right flavour in your beef fry. I came up with this recipe after trying a zillion variations of beef recipes since 2014. Yes, 6 years to find the perfect beef recipes that I am finally comfortable and proud to share here. You know I don't use boxed spice mixes in my recipes so I had to work with what I have and get the best flavour. There are several recipes online that call for "meat masala" but not this one! And you will love it, trust me. 😊After testing several different kinds of beef, I found that Pakistani beef is what works superbly for this beef fry recipe. I may be too hard on myself about this, but it matters and it makes a huge difference. Why have mediocre when we can make the best as an ex-pat! 

Kerala Beef Fry

More recipes with Boneless Beef Chunks?

How to make Kerala beef fry?

Bite-sized boneless beef chunks without too much fat are the best for this dish. Pressure cook or pot cook the beef with spices, shallots or onions, ginger garlic paste, green chillies, vinegar, coconut oil and salt with very little water. The coconut oil is added here to prevent any burnt bottom and also enhance the flavour. Fry the coconut slivers, curry leaves and dry red chillies in lots of coconut oil. Then dump the cooked beef and start slow roasting them stirring often until all the gravy thickens and beef darkens. You can fry to a semi-dry state or go all the way to dry-fry based on what you will serve this with. Kerala style beef fry aka beef ularthiyathu is ready to serve with Kappaporotta, appams, or even chapati or rice!

Kerala Style Beef Fry Recipe


Pressure Cook:
  • 500gms boneless beef chunks washed and drained
  • 15 mini shallots or 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 3 to 5 green chillies, slit
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon fennel powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • Salt to taste
For the masala
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 10 to 15 coconut slivers, chopped
  • 2 sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 dried red chillies 
Finish off with 
  • a pinch garam masala (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper powder
  • 1 sprig curry leaves 
  • a drizzle of coconut oil


Pressure cook the beef:
  1. Add the beef chunks along with chopped onion, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, spice powders (turmeric powder, pepper powder, coriander powder, fennel powder and red chilli powder), fenugreek seeds, coconut oil, vinegar and water in a small pressure cooker.
  2. Pressure cook on a medium flame for 3 to 4 whistles (depends on the beef type) or until done for about 20 minutes. Switch off and let the pressure release on its own.
  3. Open and check the doneness and cook further if required. If you find there is too much watery gravy, boil it off until thickens.
Prepare the masala:
  1. Heat coconut oil in a cast-iron skillet preferably or kadai on a medium flame.
  2. Add the coconut slices fry for a few minutes until golden.
  3. Add the curry leaves and fry until crispy.
  4. Add dried red chillies and fry for a few seconds. 
  5. Transfer the beef from pressure-cooker to the kadai. Fry this mixture on medium flame while stirring often until beef turns dark. You may stop at any stage you prefer, wet with masala coated, dry or super dry! 
Finish off:
  1. Stir in some freshly torn curry leaves, sprinkle some garam masala, pepper powder and drizzle coconut oil before serving as a side with porotta, appam, ari dosha (rice crepes), neychor, chapathi, curd rice, etc. 
Kerala Beef Fry

I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then please do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then please do share the recipe with your friends and family on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Please do follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaiblog so that I can see your creations!