Beef Curry Slow Cooker Recipe

I love curry. I didn't always --- growing up, I thought curry was spicy and I never ordered it in a restaurant, and always shied away when it was offered, assuming it would be too spicy and just not my thing. 

Boy, was I wrong. Curry isn't spicy, it's just pure and totally awesome flavor.
I now can't seem to get enough. 

Adam and I had a date night a few weeks ago and we went to an Afghan-cuisine restaurant that came highly recommended by some friends. It was amazingly fantastic, and I've been craving curried anything ever since.

I threw this in the crockpot yesterday, and it satisfied my craving -- and the best part was that I had absolutely EVERYTHING in the house already. You might, too!

The Ingredients.
serves 4-6

3 pounds meat (I used beef. You can use turkey, pork, lamb, goat, poodle (kidding, just kidding...) or a tofu/meat substitute).

1 tablespoon curry (* see below note)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 head garlic, peeled and smashed (approx 10 cloves)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (full fat is best)
(optional, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to prevent curdling that sometimes can occur if your pot gets up to a boil. See here, for more information.)
salt to taste at the table

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. My meat was frozen solid and I did not do anything to it at all. If you have thawed meat, you might want to cut it into bite-sized chunks. If you don't do this, prepare yourself to cut the meat or shred it later.

Put the meat into your slow cooker and add the curry and garam masala. Flip the meat over a few times to get the spices evenly distributed, or if you're feeling brave, rub the spices directly onto the meat. Add in the smashed garlic cloves and onion slices. Pour the entire can of coconut milk (include the paste!) on top.

Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours. Tofu and poultry won't take as long to cook -- check after 6 hours on low, 3 to 4 on high.

I served our beef curry with brown basmati rice and a baked sweet potato. I did add salt to my own dish and Adam salted his, but the kids didn't ask so I didn't offer.

* note: Adam and the kids liked this a lot, but I, personally,  would have liked a more pronounced curry flavor. If you are a big fan of curried food, I'd suggest upping the curry to 1 1/2 tablespoons, or maybe even a whole 2 tablespoons.

The Verdict.

The coconut milk mixed with the curry and garam masala creates a velvety sauce that I could suck up with a straw. As noted above, I would have liked an even more pronounced curry flavor but my family disagreed and thought it was fine as-is. I do believe in this case the better your spices, the better the results. If your curry powder doesn't have a beautiful, enveloping aroma because it's been in the back of the cabinet for a few years, you might really want to invest in a new bottle.

I hope your November is going well so far! If you're gearing up for Thanksgiving and are looking for some tried-and-true Thanksgiving dishes to make in your slow cooker, here are the reader favorites.

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at November 14, 2012

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What they say about this article

  1. Did you use a chuck roast?

  2. Hi Stephanie, I actually think it was a tritip roast that came from Costco; it was no longer in the packaging, but in a ziplock. I would certainly use a chuck though. I love chuck roasts.

  3. Oh yum I will need to make this soon!!

    I have your Thai beef in the crock now - it's my first time making it. It smells heavenly!

  4. Afghan cuisine! You're so brave! :)

  5. Anonymous11/18/2012

    I have a boneless half lamb leg in the freezer and was thinking about throwing it in the crockpot to make this recipe. I wonder if it will soak up the goodness as well as meat that's already cut into chunks. What do you think?

  6. Hi Barewood, I think your leg of lamb would work beautifully. Before serving, slice shred it and then stir the meat back into the juices to fully coat each piece.

    I love crockpotted lamb.

  7. Oh goodness, I am in love with curry. The other day I tried some pumpkin curry at my local Thai food cart and was in curry heaven so I came home and tried to replicate it. Any thoughts on making pumpkin curry in the crock pot? I haven't ever slow cooked with squash before.

  8. Curry IS spicy. I think you mean hot?

  9. Three pounds of meat and it serves our to six? Ami missing something?

  10. Hi Soujourner, once the meat is shredded and served over the brown rice, it's quite filling. I try to stick to the guideline of a deck-of-cards serving of meat per grown-up -- which is roughly about 1/2 pound of meat, uncooked.

    I hope this helps a bit!

  11. Thank you so much for the delicious and easy recipe! I've it twice now, the first following your exact recipe and the second using 1 1/2 tablespoons of red curry paste. Both were simply delicious and my family scarfed it up!

  12. Anonymous1/29/2014

    I realize this is an older post, however, I'm having trouble with this recipe. The aroma is DELICIOUS smelling, but the flavor is just mediocre. An Indian friend of mine suggested adding the garam masala at the very end because heat can kill the flavor. Any suggestions? I just want it to taste as good as it smells. Thank you for your delightful approach to crockpot cooking. Always brings a smile to my face!

  13. Hi Leslie, I have heard that long cooking can dillute some spices, and I bet your friend is right! You can add more to taste right before serving --
    I, personally, like the yellow curry flavor the best and would suggest adding a bit more of that if you'd like at the table.