Thai beef curry

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 8 hrs


Serves 8
A spicy, authentic Thai green curry for your slow cooker that's ideal for taking the last-minute stress out of entertaining

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal541
  • fat40g
  • saturates20g
  • carbs10g
  • sugars7g
  • fibre0g
  • protein34g
  • salt1.5g
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  • 2-3 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2kg beef short ribs (bone-in ribs left whole), or brisket, cut into large chunks



    The classic cut of meat for a British Sunday roast, beef is full of flavour, as well as being a…

  • large bunch coriander
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, 1 bashed, 1 roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1-2 green chillies, roughly chopped, deseeded if you like
  • 2cm-piece galangal or ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 50ml rice wine vinegar
  • 50ml fish sauce
    Fish sauce

    Fish sauce

    A seasoning often used in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. In Vietnam it is usually made from shrimp…

  • 2 tbsp palm or light brown sugar
  • 400g can coconut milk
  • 2 star anise
    Star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • 6 kaffir lime leaf
  • juice 2 limes, plus wedges to serve



    The same shape, but smaller than…


  1. Heat a little of the oil in a large pan and brown the beef in batches, removing to a plate after, reserving any juices. If your slow cooker has a browning function, use this instead. Meanwhile, in a mini chopper or food processor, whizz half the coriander, the chopped lemongrass, garlic, chillies and galangal with the rest of the oil until you have a rough paste.

  2. Turn the slow cooker to High. Heat the paste for a few mins, then add the beef and all the remaining ingredients, apart from the remaining coriander and lime juice. Turn slow cooker to Low and cook for 8 hrs, or until the meat is falling off the bone.

  3. If using beef ribs, remove bones from the beef, then shred the meat with 2 forks. If the sauce is too thin, strain it off and boil it to reduce. Stir in the remaining coriander and lime juice, then season with more fish sauce or sugar.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (31)

simonjohnrobertz's picture

I tried this and it worked out well for me. It was somewhat watery yes, so I reduced the sauce down further, on the hob, after the initial 8 hours in the slow cooker which did help thicken it up. I also think the key is to keep tasting it, if you do choose to reduce it down, and tweak the seasoning accordingly (more fish sauce, salt, lime etc), to ensure the taste has enough depth. I also added plenty of coriander at this last stage too. By the way, reheating the left overs the next day the sauce tasted even better.

ILoveFood206's picture

I had none of the above ingredients, so I substituted some leftover salad from the bottom draw of the fridge. I would say 8 hours cooking is way too much. It was little more than a bland, liquidy mess.

the_trigster's picture

Just tried it, reduced the quantity & it was lovely. I added mangetout & it gave it a lift maybe next time baby sweet corn too next time too. Worth a try

Scarybutcher's picture

Does anyone know if this recipe is or can be gluten free?

highnoon's picture

Maybe too late. Yes it is gluten free, assuming that the coconut milk isn't thickened with some gluten based thickener. Don't know how or why it would, but that would be the only thing to check.

hayesh999's picture

Yes it is. As a GF myself, I will definitely be making it :)

Sonammy's picture

I bought my first slow cooker and decided to try this recipe. I used half the weight of chicken breast and used the green curry paste. I added mange tout, baby corn, aubergine and mushroom. Cooked for 6-7 hours and put the coconut milk in the last 30 min.

the curry was majorly dry and the chicken became dry, did not get any other green curry flavour other than the chilli. Really disappointed with the outcome. I was going to do the same method to create a red curry but am now reluctant given the outcome of the green. Any tips?

highnoon's picture

Don't completely change the recipe and expect it to work.

Fredg's picture

Chicken breast will be very dry if done in a slow cooker, they only need, at most half an hour. With beef and lamb it's the fat and sinew, in the meat that keeps it moist as it breaks down during cooking and makes it really soft and tender. You would get away using chicken legs/thighs, on the bone but there's little point in cooking them slowly (in a slow cooker) as slow cooking is really a method of tenderising tougher cuts of meat, I would just do them in the oven for an hour, at around 170c in what ever sauce you like.

lizleicester's picture

Hi Sonammy, I really sympathise because it's annoying when you've gone to so much trouble and it hasn't worked well. I wonder if there wasn't enough liquid in the slow cooker? I tend to add a couple of inches of boiling stock (or in this case coconut milk) and if it looks too much at the end, I pour the juices into a saucepan and reduce them to a thicker (and very tasty) gravy/sauce.

sankm28's picture

I've made this a few times, with a lesser amount of beef. I always use thai curry paste to save the blending etc. Any milky products in the slow cooker separate so I only ever add it in at the last 20 mins. I also don't add the lime in until the last 20 mins as otherwise it tastes tangy.

lizleicester's picture

Really good flavour combination. The slow cooking infused the brisket with delicious flavours.

missbroon's picture

I made this dish in the slow cooker last night with half the amount of brisket beef and the full amount of sauce (although i only added 2 tbsp of fish sauce). As i expected the milk had split so i took the tip from earlier in the page and seived the mixture this morning (removed the beef from the seive and put back into slow cooker and discarded the leftovers) which really helped take away the sharpness. The sauce is now unbeilivabley smooth and full of flavour. I'm currently reducing whats left and added some baby sweetcorn and mange tout. Also the beef is soo tender and soaked up the flavour. The ingredient of a great dish are here! Its just the method maybe needs adjusting! Next time i'll maybe cook the dish and leave the milk until last.

michaela51's picture

I have just bought a slow cooker and decided to try this dish. I followed the recipe and have to say that it was awful. Fish sauce is very strong and just a teaspoon would have been better. The coconut milk separated and the fish sauce taste was overwhelming.

It looked awful and the tastes were harsh, as someone says above. Luckily I just did this for the family and not for guests. I would have been mortified to have had to serve this up as a dinner part dish. There are so many fantastic recipes out there but this isn't one of them.

mushlin2's picture

I cooked this for my husbands family and it was absolutely fab! I used brisket and put this in the oven at 160o for 2 hours instead of a slower cooker. It was so soft. I had no issues with the coconut cream splitting, however, I have to agree that 50ml of fish sauce was a bit extreme! I put in 2 tbsp, which was sufficient. Definitely recommend this recipe.

catie74's picture

Would this work with beef cheeks?

vintageabbie's picture

Absolutely delicious, the flavours are amazing, and the beef really works with the thai flavours. I served for 2, so used the appropriate amount of beef and other ingredients, but used only half (instead of quarter) of the coconut milk and liquids, and the consistency was spot on. Yum!

azimaizie's picture

This was actually amazing! I made it with 500g chicken thigh fillets, and it'll serve me 4 portions, with the same amount of liquid recommended above. I really hate curries that don't have enough sauce and as some others have said, I can't imagine this much liquid being enough for 8 portions.

I also put in a pile of beansprouts, a courgette and an aubergine right at the beginning, yummy!

jennyingleby's picture

this was delicious. As some of the comments below I used half the meat with this amount of sauce. Can imagine wouldn't be enough sauce otherwise. Used brisket and half fat coconut milk for the whole duration. Although it split a little, a good stir and it was completely fine. Didn't cook for 8 hours. Between 6-7 seemed plenty with lovely soft meat. The beef absorbs the flavours beautifully. Threw in some Green beans, brocolli stems and baby corn in the last half hour. Will definitely be doing this one again.

tmullany's picture

Is it really 50ml Fish sauce? That is 1/4 of the bottle. I've added two table spoons to the dish and just put it in the slow cooker. Will let you know how it goes.


Questions (2)

fjsmith's picture

Where does the liquid come from if you only add the milk for the last 30 minutes? I'm confused by this.

missbroon's picture

Hi, Did everyone use kaffir lime leaves? I cant find anywhere that stocks them :-\

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