Home cooking: Beef brisket curry

By Christine Gilbert, July 8, 2015

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Malaysia – land of glory and curries. How could a place where trade routes met, sea farers docked and some of the most powerful nations of the world laid claim produce any food that wasn’t a crazy mix of flavors? In this beef brisket curry, taste the sting of ginger undercut by the subtle flavor of coconut milk, only to discover a tiny rush of heat from red chili – and that’s just in one spoonful! 



30ml cooking oil

1kg beef brisket, cut into 5cm cubes

2 star anise

2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

1 small cinnamon stick

9.5g palm/brown sugar

400ml coconut milk

250ml hot water

Juice from 1 lime


Black pepper

28g coriander leaves, roughly chopped

1 red chili, de-seeded and sliced


Ingredients for curry paste:

2 shallots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

10 dried chilies

2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and chopped

2.5cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped

7g turmeric

5g rock salt

50g meat curry powder



1) Combine the curry paste ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until you have a smooth paste, adding a little water if the mixture is too dry. Transfer to a small bowl.

2) Heat the cooking oil in a large, heavy-based casserole dish over a moderate heat until hot. Fry the curry paste for three to five minutes, stirring occasionally, until it looks glossy and the oil starts to separate from the spice mixture.

3) Add the star anise, cinnamon and cardamom pods. Stir well.

4) Add the beef, palm sugar and a little salt. Cook for four to five minutes, stirring occasionally.

5) Pour the coconut milk and hot water into the dish, stir well and bring to a simmer.

6) Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low and cook gently for two hours.

7) Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning using salt, pepper and lime juice.

8) Garnish the dish with the chopped coriander and sliced red chili. Serve with steamed rice.


// This recipe is courtesy of Chef Gan from Sambal, Century Place B102, Shennan Lu, Futian District 福田区深南中路世纪汇广场商场负一层B102号 (2264 1000)

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