Spicy Creamy Coconut Nadan Kerala Beef Curry Recipe

Kerala Beef Curry is our favourite spicy & creamy coconut stew from Southern India.

Also known as Nadan Beef Curry, the dish is often prepared as a special Sunday stew by home cooks or sold at thattukada street food stalls.

Kerala is one of the few states in India where you can find beef on restaurant menus as it is a former Portuguese colony. It’s the perfect Indian Curry recipe for lovers of tender beef steak.

Our easy Kerala Beef Curry recipe features simple and affordable ingredients like stewing beef, garlic, onion, curry leaves, chili, ginger, turmeric, coriander, tomatoes, coconut milk, and fragrant garam masala.

Serve Nadan Beef Curry with steamed rice, appam, parotta, puttu or chapati.

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Save our Creamy Coconut Nadan Kerala Beef Curry Recipe to Pinterest!
Save our Creamy Coconut Nadan Kerala Beef Curry Recipe to Pinterest!

What Is Nadan Kerala Beef Curry?

Kerala Beef Curry is a traditional, beef curry from the state of Kerala in Southern India. Any recipe labeled “nadan” means that it is an authentic and true to its regional roots.

Kerala Beef Curry is often made by home cooks for special Sunday night dinners. It can also be purchased at thattukada, the name given to covered carts on the roadside, where to find ubiquitous street food dishes in Kerala.

In a traditional Kerala kitchen Nadan Beef Curry is prepared with affordable chunks of stewing beef. These tougher cuts of meat are cooked over a longer period of time to help tenderize the meat.

The spicy coconut curry sauce is flavoured with onion, garlic, chili, ginger, curry leaves, turmeric, coriander and garam masala.

Two large tomatoes are blended with coconut milk to create a creamy curry sauce.

Traditional Nadan Kerala Beef Curry recipe ingredients.
Traditional Nadan Kerala Beef Curry recipe ingredients.

Travel to India by Cooking Kerala Beef Curry 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 PhilippinesIndonesiaMalaysiaSingaporeCambodiaLaosMyanmarThailandVietnamThe 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 and wheat based side dishes like scorched naan bread.

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. To this day it is one of the only places in India you can find beef on a restaurant menu, such as the popular Kerala Beef Curry.

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 an authentic and fragrant feast for friends and family featuring this Kerala-style Nadan Beef Curry recipe.

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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Stir fry Kerala Beef Curry in a large wok.
Stir fry Kerala Beef Curry in a large wok.

Where To Eat Nadan Beef Curry

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

Haven’t traveled to India before? It may be helpful to first sample Nadan Beef Curry at a local Indian restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can assess the ideal beef to currys sauce ratio, desired spicy heat level and perfect side dishes to serve at the table.

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

Nadan Beef Curry is a creamy coconut stew from Southern India.
Nadan Beef Curry is a creamy coconut stew from Southern India.

My Family Loves Kerala Beef Curry

I’ll never forget my first experience eating Nadan Beef Curry.

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. Spicy Kerala Beef Curry offered a taste of India’s typically forbidden beef 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 Nadan Beef Curry 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 Beef Curry Kerala style their eyes bulged with glee. I knew they’d both love the South Indian stew because they enjoy cravings for tender beef, creamy coconut milk curries, and fragrant spices.

If you’ve traveled to India on holiday there is no better way to share your adventure at home with family and friends at home then by serving our homemade Kerala Beef Curry recipe!

Nadan Beef Curry is a stew served as a main course entree in Kerala, Southern India.
Nadan Beef Curry is a stew served as a main course entree in Kerala, Southern India.

Health Benefits

Our easy Kerala Beef Curry recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

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.

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. 

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.

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

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

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. 

Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.

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. 

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.

Kerala Beef Curry is a creamy stew made with coconut milk.
Kerala Beef Curry is a creamy stew made with coconut milk.

Kerala Beef Curry Recipe Cooking Tips

If it’s your first time cooking restaurant-style Kerala Beef Curry at home be sure to review our detailed step-by-step recipe below. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started:

  • Use a large wok with a high rim to reduce splatter when cooking.
  • We’ve used coconut oil to fry the aromatics as it is the traditional cooking fat used in Kerala. You can use peanut oil or canola oil if you prefer.
  • We’ve used a Spanish cooking onion in this recipe but you can substitute for red onion, white onion or shallot instead.
  • We always use fresh curry leaf when possible but in a pinch you can use dried curry leaves. Order them online or purchase at your local Indian supermarket or Asian grocery store.
  • I have used 3 green chilies in the curry sauce but if you don’t like spicy food feel free to reduce to 1 or 2 chilies or leave them out entirely.
  • We’ve used generic “stewing beef” which is sold in North American grocery stores as an affordable option featuring a mix of tough beef cuts. If you’re visiting a butcher ask for chuck, brisket, or flank.
  • Serve Nadan Beef Curry with steamed rice, appam, parotta, puttu or chapati.
Serve Nadan Beef Curry with steamed basmati rice.
Serve Nadan Beef Curry with steamed basmati rice.

What To Serve with South Indian Curry

Kerala Beef Curry is one of our favourite Indian stews to serve steak lovers.

The dish is typically served with steamed rice, appam, parotta, puttu or chapati.

If you’re hosting a large Indian-themed dinner party buffet you may want to serve Nadan Beef Curry with these other popular dishes:

Now you're an expert on how to make the best Nadan Kerala Beef Curry recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Nadan Kerala Beef Curry recipe!

You May Also Enjoy These Beef Recipes…

Step By Step Kerala Beef Curry Video

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Kerala Beef Curry

How to make traditional Kerala Beef Curry. Our authentic Nadan Beef Curry recipe features a spicy creamy coconut sauce with chunks of steak.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Kerala Beef Curry
Servings: 6
Calories: 504kcal


  • Wok
  • French knife
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon


  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil
  • 4 cups Spanish Onion finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp Ginger minced
  • 2 tbsp Garlic minced
  • 3 Green Chiles
  • 20 Curry Leaves extra for garnish
  • 1 tbsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1/4 cup Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Large Tomatoes chopped
  • 2 lb Stewing Beef (chuck) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala


  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and 1/2 tsp salt and saute for 7 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add minced ginger and garlic, chiles, and curry leaves and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Stir in turmeric, chili powder, coriander, and pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add tomatoes, mix well, and cook for 2 minutes. Add beef and the remaining 1 tsp salt and stir for 3 minutes, until beef is well coated.
  • Pour in 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until beef is tender.
  • Pour in coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Sprinkle garam masala and scatter curry leaves on top and serve with chapatis, parathas and steamed rice.


Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.8g | Protein: 48.4g | Fat: 28.6g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 706mg | Potassium: 945mg | Fiber: 3.7g | Sugar: 5.2g | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 30mg

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