Malay Beef Cheek Curry

Slow Cooker

beef cheek curry.JPG

Have you tried beef cheeks?  If not, give them a go.  They are definitely a tasty, tender, flavour filled meat, and usually available at most supermarkets (usually located in the same area as lambs fry etc). 


They are a meat that needs to be slow cooked, and this curry recipe, filled with warming spices, is approved by all adults and children in my family, so make sure you give it a try.  If you can't find beef cheeks,using another meat is fine - try chuck steak, gravy beef, etc. 


Yes, there is a long list of ingredients, but this is mainly due to the list of spices.


Serves 4-6




  • 2 beef cheeks or 1-1.2kg of gravy beef

  • 2 tbsp ground coriander

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • 1-2 tsp chilli powder (1/4 tsp if serving children)

  • 2 tsp chinese five spice

  • 1 tsp tumeric

  • 1 tbsp coconut or olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly

  • 4 cardamom pods, squashed

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 whole star anise flower

  • 6 cloves

  • 1 can coconut cream (Ayam or Ceres are good brands)

  • 1 cup water

  • 1-2 tsp salt (Himalayan, Celtic or sea salt)

  • 4 medium potatoes or kumara, washed and cubed (parsnips can be another option)

  • 4 medium carrots cut into thick slices

To add later:

  • Big handful of spinach or silverbeet, finely chopped

  • 1 broccoli, cut into florets


Turn the slow cooker on to high to preheat.

  1. Measure the first 5 spices into a bowl and mix together

  2. Put the whole pieces of meat into the bowl and rub the spices all over the meat

  3. Grease the slow cooker on the bottom and sides with the oil

  4. Place the onions in the slow cook

  5. Place the rest of the ingredients (except the "to add later" ones), into the slow cooker and put the meat on top, tipping any left over spices in the bowl into the slow cooker

  6. Give it a stir around so that some of the liquid is coating the meat

  7. Put the lid on and turn the slow cooker to low

  8. Cook for 6-8 hours

  9. About 10 minutes before the dish is ready to serve, take out the meat and shred with two forks.  Then place back into the slow cooker

  10. Add the chopped spinach/silverbeet to the slow cooker and stir around

  11. Cook the broccoli until tender

  12. Serve as is, topping with broccoli, or serve with rice if required.​

Note - there will be a few 'hard' bits in the curry, ie. the cardamom pods, star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick.  You can try picking these out before serving, or just tell the "eaters" to be aware of the odd crunchy bit, which kids usually quite like hunting for.