by Debra Wysopal

Another one for the not-the-prettiest-but-delish category. Unlike most curries, this Malaysian dish is done when it is browned and dry, the end result is a tender curry with a nice kick. Very few ingredients means minimal prep but it does require a decent amount of attention once in the pot. It smells absolutely divine and gave me something to tend to while everyone was working, so it was the perfect diversion to a long day of social distancing. Serve with simple steamed white rice.


Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 3.5/5
( 6 voted )


  • 2 Large Onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • (13fl oz) Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 2 tsps ground corriander
  • 2 tsps ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 3lbs chuck stew meat, cut in 1 1/4 inch cubes
  • 4-6 fresh thai chilis - (or dried chilis, or chili flakes to taste)
  • 1 TBS lemon juice (half lemon, squeezed)
  • 1 stem lemongrass (white part only), bruised and cut length wise
  • 2 teaspoons of grated palm sugar or soft brown sugar


Place the onion, garlic and chilis in a food processor and blend until a smooth, moist puree.  Add water if necessary

Place the coconut milk (and cream on top) in a large sauce pan or cast iron pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until the coconut milk has thickened, reduced and the oil has separated.  Be careful not to let it brown.  

Add the coriander, cumin, cloves, fennel mixture to the pan and mix in. Allow to cook for a minute or so.  

Add the meat and cook until the meat is coated and changes color. About 5-7 minutes. 

Add the onion mixture with lemon juice, sugar to the pot and cover to coat.   Toss in the lemongrass stalk. 

Cook covered over medium-low (on the lower side) for 2 hours, or until the liquid has reduced and the mixture has thickened. Stir frequently to prevent burning and to keep the meat from sticking to the  bottom of the pan.

Uncover and continue cooking until the oil from the coconut milk begins to emerge again letting the curry develop in color and flavor.  Be careful to not let it burn as the liquid gets absorbed.  

The curry is done when it looks dry and brown. 

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