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Darn Delicious Beef Fry, Kerala Style Irachi Ularthiyathu

Beef  recipes  are not  something  that  one normally associate  with the  Indian cuisine. Rightly too,  it is  hard   to find  beef  in most  states of  India and in  some places  the consumption of beef  might  even be  outlawed .  There  is  one  state  that  defies  this   norm –  my beloved  Kerala.  We  love  cows  and  everything  about  them –  milk , leather and  beef.    Of  the many popular  beef  recipes parotta  and  beef  fry  is  the  most  popular.   But we  will  eat Beef  fry (Beef  ularthiyathu  / Beef  ualrthu   as  we  call it) with other  flat breads like  roti or  pathiri  or bread, and  if  the occasion  demands  it  with just a  mug of beer or  toddy;-).

Nadan Beef Ularthiyathu or kerala style beef fry
Parotta  and  Beef  fry  is  one  of  the hot  selling  items  in the  makeshift fast  food  stalls  all over  Kerala. It was a  treat  relished  by us  during  the  collage   days and still is  one  of the  favorites. Unlike  the popular  curries  this  is  a  dry dish where  the  spices  coat   the  meat   perfectly.   Think of  these as tiny kabobs   on stove  top.  Plenty of  onions  and  curry leaves  add  to the  flavor. Often  times  bits  of  coconut  comes  to the  party as  well.

Strictly speaking  nothing  is  fried  here, and  in fact it can be a  very healthy lean  dish when prepared with  care.   This  is a good way to  cook  almost  any cut of  meat –  cut into  small pieces  and  add a  few seasonings  and (pressure) cook  with a  little added  water  till done.  This  cooked  meat is sautéd with onions  and  more  spices until all the  moisture  evaporates.   Copious  amounts  of  curry leaves and   coconut  bits are  added  to  enhance  the  flavors.  The  end  result is one  where  each piece of  meat is coated perfectly  in the  blend of spices .

If  you  order it  from a restaurant or  fast  food  stall in Kerala   you  get a  fiery  dish, which many natives  will tell you  goes  well  with a mug of beer  or  toddy.   Teetotalers  prefer it   with  just  parotta or  pathiri  and  the  health  conscious  ones  pair  it  with  chapathi (whole  wheat flat breads).  Malaylis are partial to  alcohol –  be  it to  forget the  problems  like the incessant rains ,  the  countless  hartals ( strikes or closure of  business), power  shortages  and  the like  or to  celebrate  the big  and  small  things  in life. So it  wont be  unusual for us to  share  a plate of  this with just a  mug of beer or  coconut  toddy.

Beef Fry Kerala Style

The  recipe  here   is  spicy, but  in a  more  manageable  way.  So if  you are  not a  fan of  spicy foods   or  not planning  on imitating  Adam  Richmond – just  gloss over  the green chili part  of the  recipe.

There  are many a  memories  associated  with  this  dish –  from uncle  S buying these from  the “tattukada”  to  pure  vegetarian   friend  sneaking  it   from another   friend’s  lunch box.  The latter  was kind  of  an  enlightening  moment –  good  food  is a  great  leveler 🙂 .

Ingredients for Beef Fry

So these  are  all the  essentials  that  you need minus  the coconut   oil.  If  you do not  have coconut  oil  use  any neutral oil , but  I strongly recommend  coconut oil.  It  adds  a  certain  caramel, nutty  flavors   that   rounds  out  the  spices.   Talking   about  spices –  the  dish can be  made  without  them , but a  little  bit  of  Garam  Masala or  its  component  spices  takes  it  up  a notch.

This  recipe  uses   fresh  ground  spices,  but you can substitute home  made  garam masala  or  a  good  store  bought  one. Look for  a  brand  that  has  fennel  and   star  anise and  not  too many other  flavorings.

Though  I love  this  dish, I am  not  big  on meat. When I do  make,  we  have a  quite  dining  table – no complaints, no arguments  over  why  one  should  eat – or  even  why  one  should  dress to eat :-).  For  my part, there is   something  utterly satisfying  about  this.  It is  as  if  “The  ancients  in their  abundance of  wisdom  came up with the two step cooking   process to bring  the  whole  family   to the   table” !  😉 .

Nadan Beef Ularthiyathu

Journey from the pressure  cooker  to the  frying  pan.  The road  to  becoming  sinfully delicious  is  all about heat , spice and  more  heat!!!

Nadan Beef Ularthiyathu

Nadan Beef Fry

By Syama
A spicy beef dish from Kerala
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr


  • Beef - 1 lb 500g
  • Turmeric Powder - A pinch
  • Salt - To taste
  • Grated Ginger - 1 Tsp
  • Grated Garlic - 2 Tsp

For Spice Powder (See Notes)

  • Fennel seeds- 1 Tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1" Inch Piece
  • Cloves- 5
  • Star Anise- 1
  • Whole black pepper- 1/2 tsp

To Fry

  • Onions/Shallots - 2 C Sliced Thin
  • Coriander Powder - 1 Tsp
  • Chili Powder - 1/2 Tsp
  • Curry Leaves -1 Sprig
  • Green Chilies - 3 to 5 To taste
  • Coconut oil - 2 - 4 Tbsp
  • Coconut Slices - 2 Tbsp Optional


  • Take all the ingredients for the spice powder in a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder , or use 1 Tbsp garam masala.
  • Cut the beef into 1/2 " cubes. Add 1/2 tsp salt , ginger, garlic , pinch of turmeric to the pressure cooker. Add about 1/4 C water and pressure cook for 1 whistle (or manual setting for 10 minutes with the vent sealed. Let the pressure release naturally.
  • In a frying pan heat about 2 Tbsp of coconut oil. When hot add the sliced onions. Saute for a few minutes, adding more oil if needed. Add the green chilies , curry leaves and coconut slices. Once the coconut bits begin to brown and the curry leaves are bright green remove and reserve a few for garnishing later.
  • Add the meat masala or the garam masala along with the coriander and chili powder. Reduce heat and cook for a minute until the aromas fill the air.
  • Add the cooked beef along with the juices. Mix well and cook till dry over medium to medium low fire. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Stir occasionally to have the masala coat the meat evenly and to prevent the pieces from sticking to the and burning. If needed add a little more oil.
  • The dish is done when no moisture remains and oil seems to separate from the meat. Turn the heat off. At this point if you like you could tilt the pan and drain the excess oil. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the reserved curry leaves and coconut.


  • Stew meat or chuck roast are perfect for this dish. If using a tough cut add 1 tsp of vinegar to the beef while pressure cooking.
  • Instead of fresh ground spices you can use Garam Masala or South Indian Meat Masala as well.

Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.

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No, there  was  no toddy or  beer  to serve  with  this  time .. Keeping  it   healthy 😉

Beef Fry Kerala Style - Nadan Beef Ularthiyathu


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Monday 12th of October 2020

Thanks Guys, Your Recipe Was Too Fantastic. Me and My Family Loved it. I Will Share your Rrecipe with my friends.