If you are looking for something different to make for a weekday supper, why not try this spicy ground beef curry and rice. It makes a nice change from the usual spaghetti bolognese or meatloaf.
A different way to cook ground beef
Normally when you think of a curry you think of Madras, Jalfrezi or even Tikka Masala, which are all typically made using chunks of beef or chicken. This curry, which is made with ground beef, doesn’t have a fancy name like that. It’s simply known as curry and rice! But that doesn’t make this dish any less tasty.
It’s packed with flavour from all the aromatic spices, and because it’s made with ground beef, there’s a greater meat-surface to sauce ratio which means you get more taste with each mouthful.
This curry originates from South Africa, where there are only 3 types of curry. Durban curry, which is hot and very spicy; Cape Malay curry which is a milder, fruity curry; and this dish, made with ground beef, which you can make as mild or as spicy as you like.
If you like curry, I think you will love this dish
- It is very economical – ground beef is still one of the cheapest meats around, and because it is bulked out with potatoes, onions and peas, a little goes a long way.
- You don’t need to spend too much time – just brown the onions, spices and meat and then leave it to simmer until it is ready.
- The flavours are amazing – the spices are fried with the onions to release the aromas. The meat is browned to provide an extra depth of flavour. And then everything is combined with stock and tomato passata and allowed to simmer until the meat has absorbed all the spiciness, and has become soft and tender.
- You don’t need to thicken the sauce – this recipe calls for grated potato which acts as a thickening agent – so once the curry is cooked, the potatoes will all have disintegrated and thickened the sauce.
What ingredients do I need?
This recipe will feed between 4 to 6 people, depending on appetite.
For the meat and vegetables
Ground beef – I like to use a good quality ground beef with a low fat content. I always try buy beef with a 5% fat content. If the fat content is too high you will end up with a greasy, unappetising curry.
Onion – because the beef is ground, you should chop the onion quite finely, about the size of cooked grains of rice.
Potato – the potato is used to add starch to the meal, but its main use is as a thickening agent. Grate the potato before adding it to the meat, and as it cooks it will disintegrate, leaving just the starch to thicken the gravy. If you would like pieces of potato in the curry, by all means add another potato, chopped into approximately 1cm dice.
Frozen peas – I always think a good curry needs a hint of sweetness. For this reason I add half a cup of frozen peas into the mix.
Passata – this should not be confused with tomato concentrate or tomato paste. Passata is just tomatoes that have been cooked and strained, leaving all the delicious pulp and juices. You can buy this in bottles or cartons at the supermarket.
Beef stock – if you have fresh beef stock to hand then you can use this. Otherwise just dissolve one beef stock cube per cup of boiling water.
You will also need olive oil (for frying the onions and beef), garlic (for extra flavour, salt (optional) and fresh coriander for garnish.
For the curry spices
To add the distinctive curry flavour to the dish you will need dried cumin and coriander powder, turmeric, fennel seeds, garam masala and dried chili flakes.
The chili flakes control the heat of the curry. If you like a hot curry, just add extra; if you prefer a milder taste then add less.
You don’t have to worry about grinding the fennel seeds. It is perfectly fine to add the whole seeds, they will soften as the curry cooks.
How do I make ground beef curry?
I always think it is easier to cook a dish if all the ingredients are prepared first.
- Peel and chop the onion as finely as possible – 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch dice is a perfect size.
- Peel and grate the potato. If you are adding whole potatoes to this dish, peel and cut into 1cm or 1/2″ dice.
- I like to use crushed garlic from a jar, but if you prefer to use fresh garlic just peel, crush and then dice as finely as possible.
- Measure all the spices into a small dish.
- Dissolve the beef stock cubes in 1 cup of boiling water per cup.
Make the curry
Once the ingredients are prepared, there are only a few easy steps to prepare the curry.
- Fry the onion and garlic gently in the olive oil until the onion starts to soften. Do not allow to brown.
- Tip in all the spices, stir and continue to stirfry for another 1 minute (image 1 above).
- Remove the onions and spices from the pan and set aside.
- Now brown the ground beef in the same pan. You may need to add another tablespoon of oil. Stir continuously until the meat is separate and crumbly. Break up any lump of meat with the spatula (image 2 above).
- Add the onions and spices back to the pan, then add the prepared stock, the passata and the potatoes. Stir well then cover the pan, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 40 minutes (image 3 above).
- Add the frozen peas and let them heat through (image 4 above).
- Serve on a bed of white rice, garnished with chopped coriander.
What to serve with ground beef curry
Serve this dish with a bowl of white rice, and if you are feeling extra hungry, slices of garlic bread and a fresh green salad.
How to freeze the curry
If you have any leftover curry, you can freeze it for a later meal, or turn it into delicious sausage rolls (just swap out the bolognese in the recipe for your leftover curry).
To freeze, allow the curry to come to room temperature, and then pack it into rigid plastic containers. It will last for at least 3 months in the freezer.
To defrost, place the frozen container in the refrigerator and leave it to defrost. Then tip the contents of the container into a saucepan and heat thoroughly. You can also reheat the defrosted curry in the microwave.
Do not refreeze.
Make in advance
The flavours in any curry improve with standing, and this dish is no exception. Just make the curry, allow to cool, and then store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave until piping hot.
If you enjoyed this curry and rice recipe, you may like to try some of my other curry recipes.
- Chicken bhuna with bombay potatoes and naan bread
- Easy lamb curry
- Vetkoek and curried mince
- Leftover lamb curry in pita bread
- Thai green chicken curry with jasmine rice
Convert grams to cups
To help you convert your recipe measurements, I have created a handy Cookery Conversion Calculator which will convert ingredients between grams, ounces, tablespoons, cups and millilitres. I hope you will find it useful.
If you live at a high altitude you may find you need to adjust your baking recipes to compensate for this. You can read about how to do this in this post on baking at high altitudes.
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Spice ground beef curry and rice recipe
Beef curry and rice
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- Sharp Knife
- Chopping Board
- Large frying pan with lid
- 1 pound (450g) ground beef
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium potato grated
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 beef stock cube
- 1 cup passata
- salt to taste
- fresh chopped coriander for garnish
- 2 teaspoon dried cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- Peel and finely chop the onion – appproximately ¼" dice.
- Peel and grate the potato.
- Peel and mince the garlic (or chop finely with a knife).
- Measure all the spices into a small dish
- Dissolve the beef stock cube in 1 cup of boiling water
Make the curry
- Fry the onion and garlic gently in the olive oil until the onions start to soften. Do not allow to brown.
- Tip in all the spices, stir and continue to stirfry for another 1 minute.
- Remove the onions and spices from the pan and set aside.
- Add another 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and fry the ground beef over a medium heat until it is no longer pink. Break up any lumps with a wooden spoon. The meat should be crumbly.
- Stir the onions and spices back into the meat
- Add the stock, passata and grated potato, stir, cover, turn the heat down to a simmer and leave for 40 minutes.
- Add the frozen peas and cook for a further 2 minutes until the peas are warmed through.
- Serve on a bed of white rice, garnished with chopped fresh coriander.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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