Kamado Joe: East African Beef Curry


Growing up in South Africa I remember my mum’s curries because they were very spicy hot and therefore were a rite of passage for us kids. When we were grown up enough we were allowed to eat it, rather than the “kiddie” curry. I have toned down the heat in this recipe but it is still a healthy medium hot which allows you to taste the depth of flavour with less pain.

This is my mum’s recipe given by an old friend from her days in Kenya and can be made with seafood, beef, lamb or chicken. East African curries differ from traditional Indian as they blend East African and Middle Eastern flavours. They use a lot of herbs and spices and mix with coconut milk and ghee –  resulting in a curry that has layers of flavour and depth.

In a bowl mix 1 teaspoon of madras curry powder with the red wine vinegar. Add the beef and mix together, leave for at least 30 minutes to marinate or overnight if possible.

ImageFire up your Kamado Joe with the deflector plates on the lower setting and add the grill. Place your cooking dish on the heat and add the ghee and onions to gently soften. Then add the garlic, ginger, curry powders, Garam Masala, sugar and the cardamom seeds.

Gently cook and once the onions are soft, add the beef and chopped tomatoes followed by the coconut milk. Add seasoning to flavour, close your Kamado Joe and leave to gently simmer at about 150C for three to four hours.

Check halfway through the cooking and if it needs more liquid either add extra coconut milk or full cream milk. Do not use water as this will give you a very liquidy curry. Once the curry is cooked and the meat is beginning to fall apart – stir in a small handful of finely chopped fresh coriander.

Serve with rice, finely chopped tomato, onions, sultanas and banana.


1lb diced beef
2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
4 teaspoons Madras curry powder
3 teaspoons medium curry powder
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons onion seeds
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
Seeds from 4 Cardamom pods
3 large cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger finely chopped
3 medium sized red onions finely chopped.
400g chopped tomatoes
500ml coconut milk
3 tablespoons Ghee
Small handful of finely chopped coriander.



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