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Beef Ularthiyathu ~ Classic Kerala Style Beef Fry

A classic Kerala style beef recipe that calls for small chunks of beef to be roasted along with coconut and spices to result in an incredibly delicious side dish to rice or chapathis
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Kerala
Keyword Beef, Beef Ularthiyathu
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 892kcal


  • 1 kg beef, with or without bone
  • 1 medium-big onion, finely sliced
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3-4 green chillies, slit (increase quantity upto 8 green chillies)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • salt to taste

Spices to be powdered:

  • 1 tablespoon fennel (saunf) seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon or cassia bark
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 cardamoms
  • 20 peppercorns, adjust to taste, I used 10

For the seasoning:

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 medium-big onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup coconut pieces, slivers * see notes
  • 4 sprigs (about 25-30) curry leaves
  • 1/2-1 cup coconut oil, depends on how health conscious you are * see notes


  • Wash the beef and cut it into small pieces. Transfer into a pressure cooker. Add all the ingredients mentioned under 'Ingredients' and also the spice powder mentioned under 'Spices to be powdered'. Mix well. There is no need to add water as the meat will release a lot of stock. If you wish you can sprinkle a handful. Cook the meat for two whistles, then simmer and cook for another 12 minutes or till the meat is tender (cooking time may vary according to the tenderness of the meat)
  • In a large, wide based kadai/wok heat the coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds and when they stop spluttering add the onions and fry till golden brown.
  • Add the curry leaves and the coconut pieces (or grated coconut) and roast on a medium heat till the pieces turn golden and you get a nice aroma. This will take some time so have patience.
  • Now add only the cooked pieces of meat (do not add the stock) and fry on a medium high heat till the moisture evaporates. Then top up by adding the stock in parts (2 ladlefuls at a time) Don't add all of the stock at one go. The meat needs to fry and the stock when added in parts will help retain the juiciness and at the same time help the meat to fry and not stew - otherwise you will have a beef curry and not a beef fry on your hands!
  • The meat when fried will begin to turn darker and darker. When the desired consistency (thickness of gravy) is achieved, remove the kadai from the heat. You can fry until the gravy is completely evaporated.
  • Serve hot with rice or chapathis


1. For this recipe you need to use chopped pieces of a whole coconut, we call it 'kanthli' in Konkani. If you are unable to find it, grated coconut is fine.
2. Use regular cooking oil if you don't have coconut oil.


Calories: 892kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 70g | Saturated Fat: 45g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 153mg | Sodium: 255mg | Potassium: 1043mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 597IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 6mg