Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Beef Ularthiyathu: Kerala Style Beef Roast

We don't buy beef that frequently here. But when we do buy it, I almost always make this Kerala Style Roast or Cutlets. After all, beef roast with red boiled rice is comfort food for us.

My sister and I used to tinker with whatever recipes available to us that promised to replicate my Mom's cooking back when we were both going to college from home. Once in a while, we would more or less nail it. This beef roast (which can also be made into a curry - you just have to stop cooking earlier instead of slow roasting the meat.), was incidentally, one of the first recipes that passed my sister and mine's rather exacting scrutiny (of our own cooking).
This recipe uses the Homemade Meat Masala Powder that I had posted a few days ago. The original recipe is my Aunt GA's and although there was no real reason to alter her recipe, I did play around with the ingredients a bit over the years and this here is the final version.


The Meat:
  1. Beef, cubed - 1/2 kg 
The Marinade:
  1. Shallots, sliced - 3/4 cup
  2. Garlic, crushed - 2 tbsp.
  3. Ginger, grated - 2 tbsp.
  4. Tomato, diced - A generous 1/4 cup (Optional. Not in my Aunt's original recipe. But I like to add it.)
  5. Coriander Powder - 1 and a 1/2 tbsp.
  6. Home Made Masala Powder - 1 generous tbsp. (You can see the recipe here. With the ingredients specified there, you will get a good quantity of the masala powder. If you cut the quantities by fourth or even fifth, you will get enough to make this recipe plus a little left over.)
  7. Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder - 3/4 tbsp.
  8. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp.
  9. Vinegar - A scant 1/2 tbsp. (Reduce/omit if the tomatoes are sour.)
  10. Curry Leaves - 1 stalk
  11. Water - About 1/4 cup or just enough to pressure cook. 
  12. Salt
The Rest: (Before proceeding to add the spices in this set, do taste the pressure cooked beef. If you find that it is spicy enough already, reduce/omit either the chilli powder alone or all of the powdered spices below.)
  1. Onions, thinly sliced - 1 cup
  2. Coriander Powder - 1/2 tbsp.
  3. Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder - 1/4 tbsp.
  4. Meat Masala Powder - 1/2 tbsp.
  5. Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp. (Optional)
  6. Curry Leaf - 1 stalk
  7. Coconut Slices - 1/3 to 1/2 cup. (Optional)
  8. Coconut Oil (Use a neutral tasting oil if you do not have coconut oil.)

Marinate the beef with all the ingredients mentioned under 'The Marinade' except water. Keep for half to one hour at room temperature.

Add water to the mix and pressure cook the marinated beef till done. (You can cook in a tightly covered pot too. But it will take longer to cook the meat.)

Heat some oil in a wok and splutter mustard seeds. Sauté onions till they get browned and then add the powdered spices (if you are adding them). Stir around for a few seconds.

Add the curry leaves and then tumble the cooked beef into the pan.
Simmer the gravy without lid till it coats the beef pieces well. Check for seasonings in between.

The gravy gets more and more dried up as you reheat the beef. You can of course, do it in one go - just that it will take a touch more effort.

Make sure that you don't make the roast too dry or else the meat will become too tough and chewy.
Serve with rice and vegetables.

  1. As was mentioned in the introduction, you can make a curry with the same set of ingredients and procedure. Proceed till you add the cooked beef to the sauteed ingredients and then bring the whole mix to a boil. Simmer for about ten minutes, adding more water if required.
  2. You can dispense with the sliced coconut if you are making a curry.
  3. You can use normal, spicier red chilli powder instead of Kashmiri red chilli powder. (In a much lesser quantity.). The former version would be a more traditional ingredient - however, we are a bit intolerant to it and so never stock it. Alternately, you can use a mix of the two. (Adjust to suit your spice tolerance level.)
  4. You might find it helpful to go through the comment section on getting the meat browned.


  1. Ah... can't stop drooling at that delicious looking beef roast...

  2. Since I started blogging I would have photographed beef ularthiyathu atleast 5 times still not happy with the brown color is it because I dont add tomato and vinegar ? Urs has come out so well Priya I just need a spoon thats all, would start with the coconut first. Just for the sake of it 1 tbsp rice or 1 porotta but don't really need any side dish for beef :)

    1. Meena, both the ingredients don't really have much say in the browning of the meat. If anything, tomatoes will take away from the brown colour. I add them as there is quite a bit of spice here, and the tomatoes help to balance the flavours. The vinegar helps to tenderize the meat and again, sort of rounds up the flavours. (The tomatoes that we get here are just sweet and not sour at all, which demands the addition of a bit of souring agent. I probably should mention in the post.) Are you putting too much turmeric?

      I just let the beef roast slowly on a low flame for a long time. I don't even bother much about perfectly browning onions to a dark brown here (as I would in a chicken dish) as the roast sort of gets together on its own.

      To make it even darker than mine - Use the normal spicy red chilly powder (In a much less quantity of course. The Kashmiri red chilly imparts a slightly reddish hue.) and an extra spoon of oil (If the beef had no fat at all to begin with.)

      And thanks much :)

    2. Thank u Priya for the details. I add turmeric while pressure cooking beef and also while sauteing onion hmm unexpected culprit :) also beef has no fat the techie here takes personal interest in discarding:)) .Since u said about the chicken masala turning green if not sauteed well in ur earlier post I give beef too no rest.Chili pd is a big issue too.Got it, thanks dear.

    3. Ooops Meena, so sorry - it just slipped my mind to reply and months have passed in between! Ahh, yes, though it is fine to add turmeric twice, you might need to put a cap on the total amount. A fair amount of fat (either on the beef or added) is needed to brown the meat or else it will go too dry and tough, which is why the roast version is a rare thing here :)

      Erm, masala turning 'green' - not sure about that Meena. Did you mean it tasting 'raw'? I think I have mentioned it somewhere.

  3. I don't eat beef but couldn't stop myself from commenting on the clicks:)...Just amazing clicks:)

    1. Aww, that is so very kind of you Padma. Thanks much :)


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