Absolutely bursting with layers of flavour, this lighter slow-cooked spicy beef curry is amazing. Less than 500 calories including rice it’s Slimming friendly too!
I’ve been making this curry for 5 years! It’s one I go back to time and time again because:
- It’s so low in calories! Beef curry sounds like it should be laden with calories, but no, it can be a lighter dish – without missing out on taste or replacing the beef with courgette or another similarly ultra-low-calorie depressing alternative.
- It’s made in the slow cooker. So when you come home ravenous and are about to ruin that day of being extra good with a mindless fridge raid, this curry will be waiting for you (and smelling amazing).
- It can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen – so you can make a HUGE batch and have happy spicy curry days whenever you feel like it.
- It’s fall-apart, tongue-tinglingly and spicily delicious!!
Five years ago when I first published this recipe I wrote:
‘The kids have gone back to school today. Six weeks of not-enough-sunshine has come to an end, and they marched off to class looking so smart and excited!
I’m now trying to get back to my usual work routine, but it seems so strange writing this with no Phineas and Ferb on in the background.
No kids performing made-up shows.
The cats are sleeping – rather than being dressing in dolls clothes.
No trail of crumbs leading from the fridge to every other room in the house.
I thought I was looking forward to the peace, but I’m not so sure now.
Let’s talk about this slow cooked spicy beef curry before I start blubbing all over my keyboard.’
Oh wow. Whilst I am feeling a little wistful over how little and sweet my kids were 5 years ago, I’m now more than happy to send them off to school. Ha ha
Anyway, let’s talk curry.
What do we need to make this beef curry?
- A lovely marinade of fat free Greek yogurt, salt, cumin and coriander to flavour and tenderize the hunks of beef.
- A base of onion, coriander, cumin, cardamon, turmeric, garam masala, black pepper, chillies, garlic and ginger to pack that curry with layers of flavour.
- Tomato paste, stock, tinned tomatoes and lemon juice – which makes up the liquid that’s used to slowly simmer the beef until tender.
How to make the slow cooked spicy beef curry (full instructions and quantities are in the recipe card below):
Marinade the beef in the Greek yogurt, salt, cumin and coriander for a couple of hours.
Seal the beef in a hot frying pan, then add the onion, spices, chillies, garlic and ginger. Stir to coat and let it cook for a few minutes to release that lovely spicy aroma.
Add the tomato paste, stock, chopped tomatoes and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, then transfer to your slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
Serve over rice with some freshly chopped coriander (cilantro) and finely chopped red onion.
It’s hot, tasty and healthy!
Watch me show you exactly how to make this delicious beef curry in this video.
The Healthier Slow Cooker Spicy Beef Curry Recipe:
Healthier Slow Cooked Spicy Beef Curry
Beef and marinade:
- 150 ml fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 kg lean braising/casserole steak (cut into small chunks)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 10 Sprays Frylight spray
- 1 large onion
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1.5 tbsp ground cumin
- 6 cardamom pods (sew them onto a piece of thread to keep them together - makes it easier to fish them out later)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 dried whole chillies
- 1 fresh red or green chilli (finely chopped)
- 3 garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (peeled and minced)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 500 ml beef stock (water plus 2 stock cubes or 2 tsp bouillon for gluten free is fine)
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Boiled basmati rice (235g cooked/75g dry rice per person)
- 1 small bunch Fresh coriander roughly chopped
- 1/4 red onion peeled and finely diced
- Place the beef and marinade ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix together until everything is combined. I like to use my hands to massage the yogurt into the beef. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinade for 1-2 hours (or overnight).
- Place a large frying pan (or the inside of your slow-cooker if it can be used on the hob) over a high heat and spray with the frylight. Add in the beef and cook for 5-6 minutes until sealed. You'll probably notice watery liquid coming off the beef and marinade as you cook. Drain off most of it (otherwise you'll just be boiling the beef). It's fine to leave a little in there though.
- Once the beef is sealed, add in the onion and turn the heat down to medium. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes until the onion starts to soften.
- Add in the coriander, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, garam masala, black pepper, whole and chopped chillies, garlic and ginger. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring a few times until the spices start to release their aroma.
- Stir in the tomato paste, stock, chopped tomatoes and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, then transfer to your slow cooked and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
- Once cooked, test and add salt and pepper if required. Serve over rice with some freshly chopped coriander.
Make some healthy cucumber mint raita:Grate 1/4 of a cucumber, squeeze out the excess juice and add to 3 tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt, a good pinch of salt and a small handful of chopped mint leaves. Stir and serve.
And how about some chopped tomato and onion salad:Chop 10 cherry tomatoes into eighths. Chop 1/4 small white onion finely. Mix together with a small handful of chopped, fresh coriander (cilantro).
Can I make it in the oven or on the hob instead?Yes, you could cook in the oven at 170C/325F for about 2.5 - 3 hours, or on a low heat, on the hob, with the lid on for 2-3 hours. It's a good ideas to check on it a couple of times in the last hour or so of cooking to ensure it doesn't cook dry. If it is looking a little dry, you can add in a good splash of boiling water or hot stock.
Can I make this curry ahead?Yes! you can make this curry, then cool, cover and refrigerate for up to two days. Reheat in a pan until piping hot throughout.
Can I freeze this beef curry?Yes, any leftovers of this curry can be cooled, covered and frozen. Then defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheated in a pan (stirring often) or microwave until piping hot throughout.
What cut of meat is best for beef curry?
- Chuck steak (braising steak) – comes from the forequarter- Consisting of parts of the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm.
- It’s a tough but very flavorful cut of meat. It has a lot of connective tissue, which needs long slow cooking to break down and become tender. Cut into bite-size chunks for this curry.
- Silverside (bottom round) – comes from the hindquarter – just above the back leg
- It’s a leaner, inexpensive cut of meat with little marbling. The lack of fat means it doesn’t have as much flavour as chuck steak, but you shouldn't notice that due to the amount of flavour in the curry sauce and the fact the the beef is marinated before cooking. This cut is good for slow cooking, but must be cooked with plenty of moisture/liquid so doesn’t dry out and become tough.
Can I make this curry gluten free?Yes! Make sure you use gluten free stock cubes (I like Kallo Gluten free beef stock cubes) and gluten free tomato paste. Nutritional info is approximate, based on 6 servings of the curry only - without rice (add 274 cals per serving for rice - based on 75g dry/235g cooked rice per person).
This post was first published on September 2015. Updated January 2020 with new photos, tips and video.
In order to make this recipe you will need:
- A good Kitchen knife. I have recently bought this Dalstrong one and love it.
- Chopping Board
- Microplane (for mincing the ginger)
- Mixing Bowl
- Measuring Spoons
- A Slow cooker or crokpot
- Garlic Press
- A frying pan/skillet If your slow cooker insert cant go on the stove top/hob
- Wooden or Silicon Coated Spoons. We have just bought these and love them.
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