Slow Cooker Gem: Curried Beef Stew

I am one of those people who will make a stellar dish and still find something wrong with it.  My hubby often unfairly accuses me of “fishing for compliments”.  Truth is, I happen to be truly critical of my dishes and am seldom 100% satisfied with the final product.  Friends and family will be praising my cooking creations and I will be standing there commenting on the three things that are wrong with it.  It can be annoying, especially if you live with it constantly, like the hubby does, but I think it means I am always trying to better my cooking.  For the record, I am not this critical of other people’s cooking – just my own – lest, the dinner party invitations dry up.  In fact, when it comes to other people’s cooking, I am the “easy critic” and my husband the annoying/difficult-to-please one.

This Thai curry is so beautiful (tough to take a bad photo of it), so yummy and so much the food we adore, that even I could find nothing lacking with it.  I made an excessive amount of it some time ago for a dinner party, in hopes that I could take leftovers to a friend recovering from an accident.  My friend never got any – much to my disappointment. It was all devoured.  No leftovers of a dinner party dish is unheard of when I am entertaining.  I am a “true-blue Indian Aunty” who makes way too much food when people are coming over.

The recipe is from Cooking Light, but I modify it by using pieces of stewing beef which we prefer over short ribs.  I also use about a can of regular coconut milk vs. the 1/3 “light” can suggested in the recipe because I am not counting my calories and we love the extra gravy.  I do also add some extra cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli powder, which aren’t quite necessary, but just additions I throw on to make the dish my own.  In our minds, this is true comfort food.  Something you make on a cold, rainy night.  Something you send to a friend recovering from an unexpected turn in the road.  It’s a bit spicy for the “untrained” little ones, but ours gobbles it up with some rice and yoghurt.

Curried Beef Short Ribsfrom Cooking Light

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors (it’s a genius step)


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots (I used about a cup)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk (I used a whole can of regular coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups hot cooked basmati rice


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add half of ribs to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in an electric slow cooker. Repeat procedure with remaining ribs.
  2. Add shallots, garlic, and ginger to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water and curry paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk, sugar, and fish sauce. Add coconut milk mixture to cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours.
  3. Remove ribs from cooker; keep warm. Strain cooking liquid through a colander over a bowl; discard solids. Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour cooking liquid into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a small bowl, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. (this step will likely not be necessary if you use beef stew chunks as it is a less fatty cut)
  4. Stir in remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, rind, and juice. Shred rib meat with 2 forks; discard bones. Serve sauce over ribs and rice

17 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Gem: Curried Beef Stew

  1. Wow this looks so appetizing and I wish we have a big pot of this stew!! YUM. I love the color too. I need steamed rice and I’m all set. I’ll be really happy!

  2. Hi there! Do you use light coconut milk or regular? And what kind of beef? You might want to edit the recipe to note that, instead of just putting it in your introductory note. I can’t wait for the weather to cool down to try this!
    Thanks, Pam H (also a SFFS mom)

    • Hi Pam, I use regular coconut milk…don’t like the “light” stuff. Will make that note in the recipe. You can use short ribs, but I used stewing beef (prefer it). Tough/Inexpensive cuts work well for this recipe as it really breaks down in the slow cooker. Good luck and let me know how it turns out! 🙂

      • I made it last night and it was a great hit with the whole family! I planned on draining the fat (put it in the zip lock) but none accumulated. I will skip that step next time.

        I’d like to add some veggies to this to bulk it out a bit. Any suggestions? What can stand up to 6 hours of cooking time?

      • I am so happy to hear that – especially that the kids enjoyed. Yay! I think the short ribs give off more fat than the stew chunks and that step applies more if you use short ribs.

        We usually have an easy stir fry with this. Steamed veges work too since the beef is so flavorful. Only potatoes would work well in slow cooker and go well with the beef.

  3. Hi– sounds good. I can’t cook with coconut milk because of my son’s allergies; do you have a good suggestion for a substitute? Thanks!

    • Perhaps evaporated milk (use 1/2 tin) or some yoghurt. You have to add the yoghurt the last 15-30 minutes of cooking so it doesn’t break up. I have never used anything but coconut milk in this recipe. These should work but it is a bit of an experiment. More confident about the yoghurt working. Indian cooking often uses yoghurt in curries.

  4. This is such a easy and great recipe. I cooked using stewing beef and used a small can of coconut milk which I think is equivalent to 1/2 of a regular can and it worked great. I did not drain out the fat though, didn’t seem to be much, perhaps cause i didn’t use ribs.
    Thanks for sharing!

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