Aromatic Coconut Beef Stew (Kerala Style)

So a couple days back I had a real hankering for some Kerala food. Kerala, for those of you who haven’t heard of it, is a  scenic coastal state in the south of India covered in lush green palm/coconut trees and laced with backwaters and with an amazing cuisine of it’s own. One of my favorite dishes of this region is their stew or “Eshtu” as it known in Kerala. It’s a simple coconut-milk based stew with meat and vegeatbles, flavored with whole spices and curry leaves that makes it deliciously aromatic and fragrant.

PTR Kerala Beef Stew

Traditionally the stew is made with mutton (goat meat) chicken or potaoes (for a vegetarian version),but since mutton isn’t easily available where I live now, I substituted with beef instead.

This delicious coconut stew is best served with Appams (fermented rice and coconut lace pancakes also referred to as hoppers) or with plain rice. Taste it once…and you’ll be making it over and over again!

Aromatic Coconut Beef Stew Recipe (Part-1) Aromatic Coconut Beef Stew Recipe (Part-2) Aromatic Coconut Beef Stew

Aromatic Coconut Beef Stew (Kerala Style)
Serves 6
A simple coconut-milk based stew from Kerala made with meat and vegetables, flavored with whole spices and curry leaves that makes it deliciously aromatic and fragrant.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. 1 1/2 lb stew beef
  2. 1-2 shallots
  3. 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  4. 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 5 cardamom pods
  6. 2 star anise
  7. 2 sticks cinamon
  8. 5 cloves
  9. 10-15 black pepper corns
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11. 10-15 curry leaves
  12. 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or oil
  13. 1 cup frozen peas
  14. 2 carrots diced
  15. 1 cup pearl onions
  16. 1 cup cut french beans
  17. 1 chili pepper (I used a serrano)
  18. 1 cup beef broth
  19. 1 1/2 can coconut milk
  20. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  21. Salt to taste
  1. – Start by measuring out and prepping all your ingredients. Cut the beef into small cubes (I cut the already cubed stew beef into halves). Finely mince the shallots, garlic and ginger. Count and set aside your whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, peppercorns, bay leaf and curry leaves).
  2. – Heat a large pot and add some ghee (clarified butter) or oil. Toss in the whole spices, to flavor the ghee/oil.
  3. – Then add the onion, garlic and ginger along with the curry leaves and saute it for a couple minutes until they start turning a very light golden.
  4. – Add the beef cubes to the pot and brown the meat on high heat.
  5. – Once the meat is browned, toss in all the veggies and mix them around.
  6. – Season everything generously with salt and pepper
  7. – Pour in the beef stock and coconut milk, stir and bring to a boil.
  8. – Add a slit chili pepper to add some heat, then turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover and allow the stew to cook for about 30-40 minutes until the beef is tender.
  9. – Garnish with a touch of chopped cilantro and serve hot with appams (rice & coconut hoppers) or plain rice.
Adapted from
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