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Sri Lankan Beef Curry in Instant Pot

Sri Lankan Beef Curry in Instant Pot

I love making my Sri Lankan Beef curry in my Instant Pot. Mainly because it's so convenient and I don't have to check time to time to see if my beef is cooked enough or if it has enough liquid left. I can simply set up the time and walk away. Minimal hands-on work means it's a definite win for me.

To be honest, my favorite beef curry is my Sri Lankan beef curry that I slow cook in the clay pot until it becomes so tender and falls apart. There's something really good about cooking meat in clay pots or in other words, traditional Sri Lankan style. They always turn out uniquely delicious and has this smoky earthy flavor which I love. But unfortunately, it's not always the most convenient method. One, Clay-pots don't last long and are not easy to find in most western countries. Two, most of the cay pots are round bottom and they might not balance well on the modern flat stovetops or wouldn't work on induction cooktops. Three and most importantly, you have to check it from time to time and make sure it has enough liquid left and the bottom pieces are not burning.

Recipe Overview:

What I love the most about this Instant Pot Beef Curry is I know exactly how much time it takes to make the curry. And it makes it so much easier for me to plan my meals. So here's a short timeline of the recipe.

  1. First, I'm going to marinate meat and set it aside until I cut my onions and prep my other ingredients. You can marinate longer up to 12 hours in the fridge for best results but this short marinating works just fine.
  2. Then I'm going to saute all my ingredients in coconut oil including my spices. And then mix my meat in, getting some searing on my meat. Searing helps to intensify the flavor.
  3. Then I add some water and pressure cook on high for exactly 30 mins. (You can directly use soup function for this)
  4. And when the beef is pressure cooked and tender, I'm going to add coconut milk, turn on the saute function and simmer the curry for nearly an hour.
Sri Lankan Beef Curry in Instant Pot
Sri Lankan Beef Curry in Instant Pot

Why do I simmer the curry after pressure cooking?

Have you ever tasted some meat that has been cooked only using pressure cooking? Well for me they always taste bland. Pressure cooking sure makes the meat become so tender in a very short amount of time. But they don't get enough time to coat and absorb all those delicious spices and aromatics. Hence the simmering. This helps the meat to become flavorful as well.

Serving Suggestions:

This Instant pot Sri Lankan beef curry is my go-to curry to have with Sri Lankan Kottu. I love it with yellow rice, bread or coconut roti, Paratha too.

I also love it with white rice, red lentil curry, and coconut sambol. A comfort menu I make for weekday lunches.

Products I use (Amazon Affiliate links):

Ratings 5 from 2 votes
Cooking Method
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 12 mins Cook Time: 93 mins Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Servings 6

My instant pot beef curry recipe is one of the easiest ways to make super tender Sri Lankan-style beef curry. This rich and creamy comfort dish never fails to impress anyone who tries it.

    To Marinate Beef
  • 600 grams Beef chuck
  • 1 tablespoon Sri Lankan roasted curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grounded black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Other ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 5 green cardamom
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 pieces of cinnamon sticks
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 pandan leaf, broken into pieces
  • 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons unroasted curry powder
  • 1 cup water (adjust as you need)
  • 2/3 cups coconut milk (I use canned)
  • salt as needed
  1. Cut beef into 1-inch cubes. Marinate beef pieces with roasted curry powder, black pepper, turmeric powder, vinegar, and salt. Leave it to 20 mins on the counter or you can marinate overnight in the fridge.

  2. Turn on the saute function of your Instant Pot/ Multicooker and adjust it to medium heat. Add coconut oil. When coconut oil is heated add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When mustard starts to splatter, add cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Saute for about 30 seconds.

  3. Then add chili powder and curry powder. (turn off the Instant pot if the pot is over-heated). Saute until chili powder turns dark red.

  4. Then add fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, pandan leaves and saute for about 30 seconds.

  5. Add garlic, ginger, chopped onions and saute until onions turn translucent. 

  6. Now add your marinated beef, mix well with all the spices and aromatics. Keep mixing for about a minute until beef pieces get some sear on the outside. 

  7. Add water. Mix. Close the lid and pressure cook on high for 30 mins. (Select pressure cook function, select high pressure and adjust the time to 30 mins.)

  8. When the pressure cooking is done, do a quick release and open the lid. Meat should be tender by now but probably taste bland. If there's too much oil on top you can remove some at this step.

  9. Add coconut milk*, mix well.  Taste the gravy for salt and adjust salt and pepper as needed. 

  10. Turn on the saute mode again. Set the temp to low and simmer the curry for 45min to 1hour or until you get the desired amount of gravy.

  • I use canned coconut milk. Since it's very thick, I usually dilute it with a little bit of warm water. If you use coconut milk from cartons or freshly squeezed then no need to dilute.
  • If you want the curry to be more creamy add more coconut milk, if you want it to be less creamy and light use less coconut milk. You can even skip adding coconut milk and just use water.
Keywords: Beef, Instant pot, Beef curry, Curry, Sri Lankan food, Pressure cooked, Slow cooker, Slow cooked, Sri Lankan beef curry, Instant pot curries
Roshani Wickramasinghe
Roshani Wickramasinghe
Hungry Lankan

Food blog with recipes from Sri Lanka and around the world