Tender Kerala Style Ularthiyathu Beef Fry Recipe

Ularthiyathu Beef is our favourite South Indian dry roast meat recipe.

Also known as Kerala Beef Fry, the simple dish popularly served at restaurants in Cochin features tender slices of steak, flavourful South Indian spices, garlic, ginger, onion, spicy chili, fresh curry leaf and coconut.

Cook this quick & easy main course dish as it’s a rare opportunity to taste an authentic Indian beef recipe.

Serve with steamed basmati rice, flatbread and a fresh salad.

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Save our traditional Ularthiyathu Beef Kerala Fry recipe to Pinterest!
Save our traditional Ularthiyathu Beef Kerala Fry recipe to Pinterest!

What Is Ularthiyathu Beef?

Kerala Beef Fry is a dish made of sliced steak, dry-roasted in a mixture of spices, onions, curry leaves, and coconut, fried in coconut oil. The dish is locally known in Kerala as Beef Ullarthiyathu.

The origins of the popular South Indian dish can be traced back to AD 52, when Syrian Christians settled in Kerala. The first Jewish settlers arrived to Kerala as early as the 6th century, bringing with them Kosher cattle slaughter techniques.

Ularthiyathu Beef is likely rooted in these immigration waves as local hindus did and do not eat sacred beef.

The dish is prepared by cooking chunks of beef in a mixture of spices, which include turmeric, coriander, garam masala, black pepper and dried chilli.

The spiced meat is then cooked in coconut oil with onions, ginger, garlic, shredded coconut and fresh curry leaves. Tougher cuts of beef are traditionally cooked in a pressure cooker to soften before slowly roasting until it reaches a dry consistency.

Our easy Ularthiyathu Beef recipe features high quality tenderloin tips. The tender cut of beef can be flash fried in a wok in just a few minutes, resulting in a juicy, melt-in-your-mouth “medium rare” texture.

Authentic Ularthiyathu Beef recipe ingredients.
Authentic Ularthiyathu Beef recipe ingredients.

Travel to Kerala by Cooking Ularthiyathu Beef at Home

I love traveling through Asia.

My first visit to Asia had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.

After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout Asia for 6 months, visiting the PhilippinesIndonesiaMalaysiaSingaporeCambodiaLaosMyanmar, ThailandVietnamThe Maldives and India.

I spent over a month traveling through India. I started in the capital, eating my way through the bustling markets and fine dining restaurants in Delhi. I then embarked on a magical weekend getaway to awe-inspiring Taj Mahal in Agra. In India’s north you’ll find plenty of barbecue, Chilli Paneer Masala and wheat-based flatbreads.

For the second half of my Indian adventure I explored the southern state of Kerala. The south is famous for its seafood, coconut, tropical fruits, and rice based side dishes like crispy dosa. The colonial capital of Cochin was formerly run by the Portuguese. It’s also one of the only places in India you can find beef on a menu, such as this popular Kerala Beef Fry recipe.

After enjoying a jaunt to the Maldives my India trip came to a close in the Bollywood capital, bustling and cosmopolitan Mumbai. The city is famous for its specialty street foods and fine dining restaurants at opulent luxury hotels. The Taj Mahal Palace in particular serves one of the world’s most famous Afternoon Teas.

What I found most fascinating is India’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in FranceGermanyItaly or Spain, each city in India had its own local speciality.

After you’ve traveled to India, return home to prepare a fragrant feast for friends and family featuring our flavourful Ularthiyathu Beef recipe!

Prepare Kerala Beef Fry in a large wok.
Prepare Kerala Beef Fry in a large wok.

Where To Eat Ularthiyathu Beef

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to local Indian restaurants that serve traditional Ularthiyathu Beef.

Haven’t traveled to India before? It may be helpful to first sample beef fry Kerala style at a local South Indian restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can determine your preferred beef cut to use, how large to slice the steak and what complimentary dishes to serve at the table.

In Toronto, popular Indian restaurants that may serve Kerala Beef Fry include Udupi PalaceLahore Tikka House and Kothur Indian Cuisine.

Join Dobbernationloves founder Andrew Dobson in the kitchen by signing up for a fun virtual cooking class! Classes begin with a cocktail that you can sip while preparing 2-3 recipes that are curated around a unique culinary theme. Check out our current Cooking Class Schedule!

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Our tasty Ularthiyathu Beef recipe features slices of tender beef tenderloin steak.
Our tasty Ularthiyathu Beef recipe features slices of tender beef tenderloin steak.

My Family Loves Kerala Beef Fry

I’ll never forget my first experience eating Ularthiyathu Beef.

On my last night in Cochin, the capital of Kerala, I arrived for dinner at the award winning Bruton Boatyard Hotel.

Moored on a historic stretch of Cochin’s famed harbour, Bruton Boatyard offers a tribute to another age. Resurrected from the remains of a Victorian shipbuilding yard, the historic building is a reminder of the once great trading houses which brought prosperity to the region when the pepper of Kerala was as precious as gold.

Seated at the hotel’s signature History Restaurant I flipped through Chef Ajeeth Janardhanan’s fact-packed menu. Each of his dishes reflects a different community in Cochin, a testament to the city’s melting pot of cultures.

Rifting through the menu one quickly gets a history lesson: Portuguese came to trade in spice, but left behind the ‘Indian’ red chili. The Syrian Christians cooked up a variety of pork dishes that coincidentally, tasted fabulous with the local string hoppers. The Jews found coriander both Kosher and delicious, so into the cook pot it went. And Dutch puddings were found to benefit greatly from a smidgen of fresh cinnamon.

After spending a week in India I was most intrigued by the menus beef and pork recipes, a rare find elsewhere in the country. Tender Ularthiyathu Beef offered a taste of India’s typically forbidden meat while Fernandes Roast Pork explored the tastes of Portuguese Anglo-Indians who developed their own brand of cuisine which was traditionally passed on through the ladies of the house, called choochis, a Creole term for an elderly Anglo-Indian woman.

After traveling throughout India and eating at some of the world’s best Indian restaurants I was excited to share my love for Beef Fry Kerala Style with my family at home.

I’ve hosted many Indian-themed feasts, showcasing dishes from Delhi to Bengal via fragrant curries, fresh salads and hearty soups.

When I finally introduced my parents to Kerala Beef Fry their eyes bulged with glee. I knew they’d both love this traditional South Indian recipe because they enjoy tender beef, fragrant spices and tropical coconut.

This easy Kerala Beef Fry recipe uses a simple "dry roast" technique.
This easy Kerala Beef Fry recipe uses a simple “dry roast” technique.

Ularthiyathu Beef Health Benefits

Our homemade Kerala Beef Fry recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals. 

Chilli has been proven to help reduce the duration of sickness, prevent heart disease, and promote weight loss. 

The star component of turmeric is curcumin, a potent phytochemical that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is often prescribed in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to help relieve arthritis, aid digestion and inhibit the growth of cancers. 

The potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content in fennel, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. Fennel contains significant amounts of fibre. 

Coconut is rich in fibre and may also offer a number of benefits including improved heart healthy and digestion. It is high in calories and sautéed fat so be sure to eat in moderation. 

Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system. 

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.

Beef is a great source of protein and minerals like iron as well as an excellent source of the amino acid L-caine. Beef also features antioxidant glutathione known for its anti-aging benefits.

Serve Ularthiyathu Beef garnished with sliced red onion.
Serve Ularthiyathu Beef garnished with sliced red onion.

Beef Fry Kerala Style Recipe Cooking Tips

If it’s your first time cooking Ularthiyathu Beef at home be sure to review our step by step recipe below. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started.

  • We suggest using a large wok when preparing Kerala Beef Fry as it allows you to distribute the heat evenly and offers plenty of space to toss and stir the ingredients together without splatter.
  • We’ve used tender beef tenderloin tips in this recipe but you could also use sliced ribeye steak. By using a tender cut of beef you can significantly reduce the cooking time. In just a few moments in a hot wok the steak strips transform into a melt-in-your-mouth medium rare.
  • If you like spicy food feel free to add additional dried red chilies or green serrano chilies.
  • We’ve used shredded coconut flakes in this recipe but you can substitue for coconut chips if you prefer.
  • We prefer to use fresh curry leaf in this recipe but you can substitue for dried curry leaf.
Kerala Beef Fry is a juicy and tender main course to serve at a South Indian dinner party for meat lovers.
Kerala Beef Fry is a juicy and tender main course to serve at a South Indian dinner party for meat lovers.

What To Serve with Beef Ularthiyathu

Kerala Beef Fry is one of our favourite South Indian meat dishes to cook at home.

The tender and flavourful main course entree is best served at an Indian dinner party with steamed basmati rice, flatbread like naan and a fresh salad.

If you’re hosting a large Indian-themed buffet or potluck you may want to serve the dish alongside these popular recipes:

Serve Beef Ularthiyathu with steamed rice or naan bread.
Serve Beef Ularthiyathu with steamed rice or naan bread.

You May Also Enjoy These Beef Recipes…

Now you're an expert on how to make the best Beef Ularthiyathu "Kerala Beef Fry" recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Beef Ularthiyathu “Kerala Beef Fry” recipe!

How To Make Kerala Style Beef Ularthiyathu

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5 from 1 vote

Kerala Beef Ularthiyathu

How to make traditional Ularthiyathu Beef. Our easy Kerala Beef Fry recipe features strips of tender steak, coconut and South Indian spices.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: kerala beef fry, Ularthiyathu Beef
Servings: 6
Calories: 523kcal


  • French knife
  • Wok
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Mixing bowls


  • 1/4 cup Ground Coriander
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 2 lbs Beef Tenderloin Tips cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Dried Red Chilies snapped in half
  • 20 Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 2 Large Spanish Onions chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp Ginger minced
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/4 cup Red Onion sliced
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro chopped


  • In a small bowl, combine coriander, chili powder, and turmeric and mix well.
  • In large bowl combine beef, half the spice mixture, and salt. Toss to coat and set aside.
  • Heat coconut oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add chiles, curry leaves, shredded coconut, and fennel seeds and cook for 30 seconds. Add onions, garlic and ginger and saute for 7 minutes, until onions are softened.
  • Stir in the remaining half of the spice mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Add spiced beef slices, mix well and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, then finish with lemon juice, pepper and garam masala.
  • Garnish with red onion sliced and chopped cilantro. Serve with chapatis, paranthas or steamed rice.


Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.7g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 34.7g | Saturated Fat: 23.1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 689mg | Potassium: 701mg | Fiber: 2.5g | Sugar: 2.3g | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 5mg

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