Malaysian Beef Curry

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: February 17, 2020

Last Updated: September 12th, 20234 Comments on Malaysian Beef Curry

This Malaysian Beef Curry (Kari Daging) is so insanely flavourful. An intense burst of South-East Asian Magic! Like the wonderful Malaysian Beef Rendang, this curry is packed with flavour, texture and fragrance. 

A bowl of Malaysian Beef Curry

Malaysian curries are my favourites for a very good reason. They are an exciting combination of flavours from South East Asia, China and India. That's all the flavours of the World's greatest cuisines in one delicious blend. Perfection.

To say Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean food are intensely flavourful is somewhat of an understatement. All three cuisines share similarities and Malay is probably my favourite.

I first tasted this Malaysian Beef Curry in a food court in Kulala Lumpur. After an il-advised walk in the extreme tropical heat I was sweaty, exhausted and hungry, so the sight of a mall was welcome one.

The food courts offer top-notch food, a mind boggling array of curries, soups, stir-fries and more. It's almost impossible to choose but that day I sampled one of the tastiest beef curries, Kari Daging, a slow cooked beef that is as soft as butter in a dark, intense sauce that's packed with fragrance, flavour and just a little spice. This was 20+ years ago, and since then I've managed to replicate that recipe regularly.

it's similar in flavour to the mighty Beef Rendang, but stops short of reducing the sauce as much - we're left with a thinner consistency which I LOVE, as you get to enjoy it more of it with breads or fluffy rice.

It's one of the tastiest Malay curries I cook and will often serve it alongside other favourites like Ayam goreng, Kari Ayam, Serundeng, Sambal Udang, Roti Canai, Nasi Goreng, Gado Gado and more. There's nothing better than a full table of Malaysian flavours and Kari Daging is sure to be included every time.

A bowl of Malaysian Beef Curry

What is Kari Daging (Malaysian Beef Curry)?

Kari Daging is a popular Malaysian dish consisting of tender chunks of beef simmered in a flavorful curry sauce. The beef is typically marinated in a blend of spices, including turmeric, coriander, and cumin, before being slow-cooked with coconut milk, lemongrass, and a variety of herbs and seasonings. The result is a rich and aromatic curry with a delicious combination of savory and slightly spicy flavors. Kari Daging is often served with steamed rice or bread, making it a satisfying and beloved meal in Malaysian cuisine.

Why it works?

It's easy - There's not a lot to making this dish happen. It's a bit of wait for the cook, but the actual making of os super simple.

It's insanely flavourful - The low and slow cooking only intensifies the spiced flavour of this curry. I can't get enough etc!

A bowl of Malaysian Beef Curry

Stuff You'll Need

I've always felt it authentic to use a good pre-mixed curry powder. This Malaysian curry powder is one I use most. That said, I almost always have a stash of homemade Malaysian Curry Powder in the cupboard, so will use that too - if I haven't used it all up on my DELICIOUS Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam) that is!

  • Beef - use a cheap cut like chuck/stewing steak. It'll be super tender after cooking.
  • Aromatics - Onion, fresh curry leaves, tomato, star anise and lemongrass help start the fragrance off
  • Spices - Grab a Malaysian curry powder online or at any good Asian store or make your own homemade Malaysian curry powder to add all the complexity of flavour.
  • Shrimp paste - The umami potency of shrimp paste adds that authentic funk!
  • Coconut milk - This brings the sweet richness to the creamy sauce
  • Salt, pepper, sugar and fish sauce finish up the fragrance.
Malaysian Beef Curry

Step by Step

To speed up the long cooking time, I'll also use the Instant Pot. An Instant Pot Curry can be left to fend for itself and cut the cooking in half so it's great if you're running short on time. I give directions for cooking both with and without the Instant Pot.

  1. Step 1 - Sautee the onion along with the star anise and curry leaves until soft
  2. Step 2 - Add the beef, tomato, lemongrass, curry powder, coconut milk, salt, pepper, sugar and shrimp paste. Cover with some water and cook for 45 minutes in the Instant Pot or 2 hours in a pan until the beef is fork-tender.

Serve with flaky roti breads or fluffy jasmine rice.

A bowl of Malaysian Beef Curry

Serving & Storage Suggestions

  • Serve - I like to serve mine either on its own or as part of a larger spread with other delicious Malaysian recipes. See some of my favourites below.
  • Garnishes - You can serve your curry sprinkled with crispy shallots or garlic. Alternatively, you could try making your own crunchy fried coconut called Serundeng (see my recipe) to sprinkle over. Serve some fresh tomato and crunchy cucumber on the side.
  • Fridge Storage - This curry actually benefits from some time in the fridge. If you can handle the pressure, leave the whole pan for 1-2 days before eating for an intensely flavourful boost! Leftovers will stay fresh for 4-5 days in the fridge and improve with each passing day!
  • Freezer Storage - Malaysian Beef Curry will stay good in the freezer in separate portions in airtight containers for 3+ months. Reheat until piping hot.

Ready to get cooking?

I really can't sing the praises of my Malaysian Beef Curry recipe loudly enough. It's one of my least fuss, recipes that over-delivers on fragrance, texture and most importantly flavour. A real winner! I hope you make the effort to bring this wonder to your table - I'm sure you'll love it.

A bowl of Malaysian Beef Curry

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about Malaysian Beef Curry (Kari Daging)? Let me know in the comments.

Is Kari Daging the same as Rendang?

Both dishes have similar flavour profiles. However, Daging stops the cooking process at a stage before the sauce reduces into a thick paste, typical of Rendang recipes.

Where is Kari Daging from?

Malaysia and Indonesia both have similar dishes.


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A bowl of Malaysian Beef Curry

Malaysian Beef Curry

Rate this recipe

3.78 from 9 votes
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Recipe by Lee
Course Main Course
Cuisine Malaysian
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Instant Pot cooking time45 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 6
Calories (per serving) | 525



  • For Conventional cooking: Heat a large pan over a moderate heat with the oil until hot.
    For Instant Pot: Turn on the 'Saute' function of your Instant Pot and heat the oil.
  • Add the curry leaves and star anise and let them splutter for 30 seconds before adding the onions. Sauté the onions for 5 minutes to soften slightly.
  • Add the beef, tomato, curry powder, lemongrass stalk, coconut milk, salt, pepper, sugar and shrimp paste and cover with around 4 cups water.
  • For conventional cooking: Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, partially covered for 2 hours until the meat is tender.
    For Instant pot: Switch to the 'Pressure Cooking' setting and put the lid on. Cook under pressure for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat.
    That's it! Serve with plenty of fluffy Jasmine rice or Malaysian Paratha or Roti breads and a Malaysian style Dal or salad.


  • Serving Options:
    • Enjoy on its own or as part of a Malaysian meal spread.
    • Explore some of my favorite Malaysian recipes mentioned in the main recipe description.
  • Garnish Ideas:
    • Enhance your curry with crispy shallots or garlic.
    • Try making homemade crunchy fried coconut (Serundeng, see my recipe at for a delightful topping.
    • Accompany with fresh tomato and crunchy cucumber.
  • Fridge Storage Tips:
    • For an intense flavour boost, let it sit in the fridge for 1-2 days before consuming.
    • Leftovers remain fresh for 4-5 days and improve over time.
  • Freezer Storage Guidelines:
    • Store Malaysian Beef Curry in airtight containers in separate portions.
    • Freezer storage is good for 3+ months.
    • Reheat until piping hot when ready to enjoy.


Calories: 525kcal (26%) | Carbohydrates: 10g (3%) | Protein: 35g (70%) | Fat: 40g (62%) | Saturated Fat: 23g (144%) | Cholesterol: 115mg (38%) | Sodium: 1395mg (61%) | Potassium: 882mg (25%) | Fiber: 3g (13%) | Sugar: 5g (6%) | Vitamin A: 244IU (5%) | Vitamin C: 13mg (16%) | Calcium: 69mg (7%) | Iron: 6mg (33%)
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