Kerala Beef Stir Fry

The Syrian Christian population in South India is known for its fiery beef and pork dishes using fresh coconut and lots of peppers. 

makes ~4 cups


8 oz flank steak (frozen briefly for ease of slicing)

4 Tbsp coconut oil 

1 tsp mustard seeds

10-12 whole red chilis

1 tsp crushed black pepper 

½ cup sliced shallots

8-10 kari leaves

2 Tbsp ginger purée 

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp turmeric

2 green bell peppers sliced

1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced into wheels

1 tsp turmeric

2 Tbsp freshly chopped or grated coconut

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro


  1. Slice the beef as thinly as possible and set aside until ready to cook. 
  2. In a heavy wok or a frying pan, heat up the coconut oil and pop the mustard seeds then add the crushed black pepper, shallots and kari leaves. Cook for 3-4 minutes then add the ginger purée, minced garlic, red chilis and turmeric.  
  3. On high heat, almost immediately after, add the beef, then the bell peppers, serrano and salt. The beef and the vegetables should cook in 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off and fold in the cilantro, coconut & cashews.

ideas / variations

  • Replace beef with thin slices of portobellomushroom for a vegetarian option.
  • Sliced lamb or chicken can replace the beef.
  • Instead of bell peppers, use thinly sliced mushrooms or carrots.