Alright let’s get back to some recipes. I know that’s the reason most of you read my blog. Last week I bought a giant package (3.5 lbs worth) of stew meat. Mostly because it was on sale, but also because fall always means the start of soup and stew season. The only problem is I’m not a fan of your typical stew. Carrots, beef broth, potatoes, onions etc. Eh.

So I took to google. Of course now, as I’m typing up this post, I can’t remember how I actually came up with the idea (no seriously, I just spend 20 minutes going through my internet history…) but I think it went something like this:

Google: “Beef Stew.” Read through 100 recipes of the same boring traditional recipes. Google: “Crockpot Beef.” Read through 50 recipes and start to feel discouraged. See the word curry, get excited. Google: “Beef Curry.” Read through 50 recipes, say f#$% it, and throw a bunch of ingredients into the crockpot. I mean, that’s how everyone tries new recipes, right?

Coconut Beef Curry


  • 3.5 lbs of Beef stew meat
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 3 tsp of red curry paste
  • 2 tsp of ground ginger
  • 3 tsp of thai seasoning

beef curry

I first put all 3.5 lbs of beef into my crockpot. I decided not to brown it first. There is some debate on whether or not to brown meat before putting it into the crockpot. I could probably write a whole blog post about it. But the short version – Browning meat seals the juices in the meat and gives a ton of flavor. So why didn’t I brown? Because:

a) cooking meat in the crockpot basically means you’re cooking the meat in liquid. So there should be no fear of it drying out.

b) Anyone who has ever made the mistake of cooking stew meat on the stove (raises hand in shame)  knows this is a tough cut of meat. Why? Because it has more connective tissue that needs to be broken down with cooking. However if you cook for too long, it can get chewy. So I decided to prevent accidental overcooking by skipping the browning.

beef curry recipe

Anyway, enough about that. After placing all of my meat in the crockpot, I added the thai seasonings and ground ginger. I then placed the chopped onion and red pepper on top.

beef curry ingredients

Next, I poured the canned tomatoes right on top, including the juice. Next time, I might go with fresh tomatoes instead. One because it will cut down on the amount of liquid in this dish, but also because I’ve been reading a bit more lately on how dangerous canned tomatoes are (the acidity of the tomato eats the inside of the cans). Not sure how true that is.

beef curry coconut milk

To make sure that the curry paste would be evenly distributed, I mixed it with the coconut milk. You could also just do this straight in the can and save cleaning an extra bowl.

beef curry recipe

Dump the coconut milk/curry paste mixture right on top. Then I didn’t stir it per-say, but I pulled at the sides a bit to make sure the liquid made it’s way to the bottom of the crockpot. Put the lid on and set it on high for 5 hours.

I actually debated whether or not to cook it on low instead of high for fear of overcooking the meat. But it was late and there was no way I was staying up until 3am to turn my crockpot off.

crockpot coconut beef curry

The good news is I guessed right. The high heat wasn’t a problem at all. I was super impressed by how tender the meat came out. Literally melted as you ate it. There were just two problems with this recipe (OK not really problems but just things I didn’t count on).

1. I don’t have a lot of cooking experience with coconut milk. So when I put it in, I  expected it to create a nice creamy consistency. Um no. Coconut milk when cooked turns to basically coconut oil. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you can see that this stew isn’t very thick at all.

2. This wasn’t spicy. At all. Maybe because I stuck to teaspoons but honestly I was expecting a kick and there wasn’t any. Isn’t Thai red curry paste supposed to be spicy? I’m so confused…

Ah well. If you try this one let me know. Like I said, the beef part was great but the recipe could definitely use some tweaking.

7 thoughts on “Coconut Beef Curry for the Crockpot”

  1. I guess you didn’t use enough curry paste! If you want coconut milk based dishes to be thick you gotta boil the liquid down. Also, you probably want to skim the oil off. Either use a ladle and skim the surface into a fat separator, or refrigerate it and skim off the solidified fat.

  2. Ok so I’d found this recipe – and saw at the end that you wanted to tweak it a bit. I took your base recipe and changed it up a little, and got one of the BEST tasting dishes I’d ever made. First, I couldn’t find the thai seasoning, so I had to sub in something and I chose red pepper curry paste and a hot mango chutney (Patak’s brand) and here’s what I did:

    I used three pounds of stew meat (although this would def. be better with chicken instead of beef) –
    1 heaping tablespoon of Patak’s hot curry paste
    2 heaping tablespoons of Patak’s mild (simply because I didn’t have any more hot)
    half a jar of Patak’s mango chutney
    1 tblspoon red pepper curry paste
    two red bell peppers
    two onions
    1 can coconut milk

    throw all in crock pot and let cook for five hours – when serving pour in a couple tablespoons of heavy cream.

    Hope you try it this way, you will surely love! Enjoy

    1. Hi Hollie! That’s awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m definitely going to give this a try. I think I’ve seen the Patak’s brand before. I’ve actually not had mango chutney before. Will be a fun experiment 🙂

  3. I cook a lot of Thai and Indian curries but have never done so in the crock pot. I’ve been researching the internet for Thai crockpot curry recipes and most say not to add the coconut milk until the end of the cooking and just heat through. I’m glad I learned that because I would have just put everything in at the beginning. This should solve the problem with the coconut milk changing it’s consistency. To spice mine up, in addition to the red curry paste, I always add Thai chili peppers to all my Thai dishes, but I like them very hot. Also, Thai dishes require four things: Hot (spicy), sweet, sour, and salty. In addition to the thai chilis, I use lime juice, palm sugar, and fish sauce. I’ve got this cooking in the crockpot as I write this and the smell in the house is to die for. Even though the curry paste has everything under the sun in it already, I always add more fresh lemongrass, garlic, galangal, shallots and ginger. Try this, you won’t be disappointed. I put this over jasmine rice or noodles. Today I’m going to use regular old ramen style noodles (minus the flavor pack! you don’t want to change the flavor of the sauce you’ve been cooking in the pot all day!) As it nears the end of cooking time, I will also add a can of bamboo shoots that don’t really need any cooking time. I just found your site… will check out other recipes you have. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tammy. Thanks!! I like the idea of adding lime juice. I’ll try that next time. And you’re definitely right about the coconut milk. I’ll have to try this recipe again with the changes. Thanks for the ideas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *