Beef brisket curry

Beef brisket curry

Leanne Kitchen

Oh, brisket, how we do love you! And here’s an interesting factoid about this deeply flavoursome cut of meat – cows don’t have collar bones so their pectoral muscles (the brisket) have to support 60 per cent of their standing weight. Hence this cut is full of connective tissue and requires long, slow cooking in order to become tender. This is a different sort of a curry. It’s rustic and Thai in inspiration, with a relatively simple foundation paste and no coconut cream. What makes it really interesting are the assorted bits and pieces you scatter over at the end.


Quantity Ingredient
1.2kg beef brisket, cut into 1 cm thick slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
60ml fish sauce

Curry paste

Quantity Ingredient
2 1/2 teaspoons belacan (malaysian shrimp paste)
3 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
12 dried red chillies, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, drained
6 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 lemongrass stems, chopped, white part only
6 red asian shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh turmeric
or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
300g firm tofu, cut into 1 cm cubes
145g salted radish, rinsed
120g roasted unsalted peanuts, lightly crushed
3 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally
coriander sprigs
6 eggs, hard-boiled and halved


  1. For the curry paste, wrap the belacan in foil. Heat a small, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, add the wrapped belacan then dry-fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until fragrant. Cool and unwrap.
  2. In the same frying pan over medium heat, dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds, shaking the pan occasionally, for 2–3 minutes or until fragrant. Cool slightly, then transfer to an electric spice grinder and grind to a coarse powder. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
  3. Combine the drained dried chillies, belacan, coriander and cumin mixture and all the remaining paste ingredients in a food processor and process until a coarse paste forms, adding a little water if necessary. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
  4. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the beef, in 2 batches, and cook for 1 minute or until the meat changes colour. Drain well and set aside.
  5. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the curry paste in the oil, stirring, for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the beef and 875 ml water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes or until the beef is very tender. Stir in the palm sugar and fish sauce and cook for 2–3 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Serve with the tofu, eggs, salted radish, peanuts, spring onion and coriander passed separately to scatter over.
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