Kerala Style Beef Varattiyathu Recipe

Ready to eat: 45 min
Nia Bennett | Sep, 8 2018

If you are from Kerala or know anyone from Kerala, you would know that what beef is to a Malayali (a term used for a person from Kerala) is what water is to fish.

Although if you are a vegetarian you might disagree but a traditional beef varattiyathu - (a process where beef is cooked slowly with onions, spices and coconut pieces till the water is dried out) is something quintessentially Kerelean. It is served everywhere in Kerala, in fact restaurants throughout Kerala serve this for breakfast with appam, dosas or traditional kerala parotta. Being a proud malayalee, this definitely needed to be features on this blog.

Although the process to make this is straightforward, it needs your time and attention, otherwise you might end up with a burnt dish which, let’s be honest no one will like.

Marinating the beef for two hours is crucial step as it allows to the meat to soak up all the flavours of the spices.

A traditional beef varattiyathu is great with parotta, any flavoured rice, plain rice and raita.


Serves: 5

  • 1 kg beef
  • 2 tsp coriander powder (for the marinade)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (for the marinade)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder  (for the marinade)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (for the marinade)
  • 1 tsp ground pepper (for the marinade)
  • 2 tsp salt (for the marinade)
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste (for the marinade)
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder (for the beef dish)
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste (for the beef dish)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chilies (for the beef dish)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • Curry leaves (for the beef dish)
  • Salt (as per preference)
  • 1/2 cups coconuts sliced (for the beef dish)
  • 20 shallots (for the beef dish)
  • 5 red onions (for the beef dish)
  • 2 tomatoes (for the beef dish)
  • 1.5 tbsp Coconut Oil (for the beef dish)


Prep: 10 min > Cook: 35 min > Ready to eat: 45 min

  1. Start by using good quality beef, preferably loin cut beef steak and cut into small to medium chunks.
  2. Now add all the ingredients listed above into the diced beef and marinate it and set it aside for two to three hours.
  3. Once the beef has been marinated with all the listed ingredients, pressure cook it for two whistles. If you don’t own a pressure cooker, ignore this step and directly move on to the cooking stage.
  4. Heat a pan and add coconut oil, once the oil is hot, add diced coconut bits and curry leaves and let this cook for two minutes on a medium flame.
  5. Now add the chopped onions and shallots and cook till golden brown, to this add chopped chillies, ginger and garlic and allow them to cook for a minute or two in low flame.
  6. Now add all the spices listed above for the beef recipe and added chopped tomatoes. Give it a good mix and let this cook till it looks mushy.
  7. Add this stage add beef and stir. Now add half cup of water and let this cook for 30 -35 minutes on a low flame. Make sure you check on the beef and stir it every 15 minutes.
  8. Once the beef is ready, garnish it with some chopped coriander and curry leaves and this is ready to be served.

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